Thursday, June 03, 2004

Junk DNA update [New Scientist | background]
It is not often that the audience at a scientific meeting gasps in amazement during a talk. But that is what happened recently when researchers revealed that they had deleted huge chunks of the genome of mice without it making any discernable difference to the animals....

'It may say as much about our inability to detect any phenotypes as it says about the function of this region,' says David Haussler of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who thinks the work of Rubin's team is impressive and significant. 'My sense is they do have confer some kind of advantage.'

There might be a third explanation: similar regions on other chromosomes could make up for the deletions. 'It could be that these elements are so critical that there is redundancy in the system,' says Kelly Frazer of Perlegen Sciences in California."

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