Recently, University of Houston professor Dan Graur attempted to bring back the junk. In a paper published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution he takes issue with ENCODE and subsequent discoveries, claiming that at least 75 per cent of our genome is rubbish.
According to New Scientist,
“The heart of the issue is how you define functional. ENCODE defined DNA as such if it showed any ‘biochemical activity’, for instance, if it was copied into RNA. But Graur doesn’t think a bit of activity like this is enough to prove DNA has a meaningful use. Instead, he argues that a sequence can only be described as functional if it has evolved to do something useful, and if a mutation disrupting it would have a harmful effect.”
In other words, it is the evolutionary tail wagging the dog. In the real world, our genome continues to be amazing and wonderful.
Le Page, Michael. 2017. At least 75 per cent of our DNA really is useless junk after all.New Scientist (17 July).