'Junk DNA' found to have a use after all

By
September 6, 2012 20:12

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Geneticists looking for the origin of heritable diseases "now have a new sandbox to play in," says Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s medical genetics director Prof. Ephrat Levy-Lahad, following the discovery that what had been called "junk DNA" in the human genome has an important purpose after all.

Instead of 99 percent of the genome being "irrelevant filler" -- as had been thought -- in the genome of three billion base pairs, and only the remaining 1% encoding for vital proteins, the "junk DNA" serves as millions of DNA switches that power human genome's operating system. It thus comprises a massive control panel; without these switches, genes would not work – and mutations in these regions might lead to human disease.

The locations of some four million switches were discovered and published Thursday in the journals ITAL Nature, Genome Biology and Genome Research END ITAL by an international research team of hundreds of scientists led by the University of Washington in Seattle that did not include a group of Israelis. The University of Washington’s ENCODE project stands for "ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements."

Related Content

Breaking news
August 20, 2018
Russia urges rebels in Syria's Idlib to distance selves from Nusra Front

By REUTERS