Junk in the Trunk

Sadly I don’t have time for a full blog, but PT readers should read a caustic paper by Dan Graur et al. (Graur of chicken entrails fame), which is doing the most thorough take-down to date of the ENCODE project’s widely-advertised claim last year that 80% of the human genome is functional and that the junk DNA concept has been debunked. It’s open access, and the media is starting to pick it up: http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/02/20/gbe.evt028.full.pdf+html

The major weakness is that Graur et al. do not discuss the huge variability in eukaryote genome size much, although they do cite Ryan Gregory’s Onion Test. And the tone is such that tone itself is becoming an issue. On the other hand, many of us feel that ENCODE steamrolled basic, well-known scientific facts when it shot the “80% functional” claim around the world’s media. Certainly there’s a lot to discuss!