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By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/13/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists don't really know what the other 98 percent is for.

Did God make junk? According to researchers, a significant percent of human DNA could be "junk DNA" serving no purpose within our bodies.

God doesn't make junk.

God doesn't make junk.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/13/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: DNA, junk DNA, noncoding, encoded, bladderwort, human, genome, genes, genetics


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - We all know that God doesn't make junk. We also know that nature abhors a vacuum, so useless appendages are normally lost over successive generations. Understanding this, there needs to be some explanation why only 2 percent of the human genome appears useful.

According to geneticists, only 2 percent of the human genome is actually made of working genes. The rest is what they call "noncoding DNA" which is DNA that does not encode protein sequences. In other words, it appears to be useless.

To figure out what junk DNA is supposed to be doing, if anything, scientists at the University of Buffalo, and the Labratorio Nacional de Geniomica para la Biovestidad in Mexico, worked together to study a plant which apparently has very little junk DNA in its genome. The bladderwort, a carnivorous plant, has several intricate working systems and has only 3 percent junk DNA.

Scientists say the bladderwort has deleted much of the junk DNA from its genome over many generations. The conclusion they draw is that very little DNA is actually required to produce a complex, living and functioning organism.

At least if that organism is a plant.

The study has no human conclusions, but suggests that we might not need all the DNA we have either. Other scientists contend that our junk DNA isn't junk at all, but that is serves some other purpose which has not yet been discerned.

Nobody really know where this supposed junk DNA comes from or what it does, or doesn't do. The DNA could be parasitic strands that simply replicate but do nothing more. Alternatively, they could be relics of once useful genes that are now unnecessary, or the apparent junk DNA could play a vital role in our humanity and survival, without which we could not be.

Science doesn't have all the answers, but they're still at work trying to solve the mystery. Perhaps we will learn that junk DNA isn't junk at all, and that what we perceive as useless is actually part of a greater design, a blueprint so sophisticated that we can barely comprehend its elegant brilliance.

Eventually, we'll all know the answer. In the meantime, it's fascinating to consider.

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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
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