Monday, May 13, 2013

'Junk' DNA Mystery Solved: It's Not Needed

The humped bladderwort plant (shown here in a scanning electron micrograph) is a voracious carnivore, with its tiny bladders leveraging vacuum pressure to suck in bitty prey at great speed.  

 

One person's trash may be another person's treasure, but sometimes, trash is just trash.

So-called junk DNA, the vast majority of the genome that doesn't code for proteins, really isn't needed for a healthy organism, according to new research.

"At least for a plant, junk DNA really is just junk — it's not required," said study co-author Victor Albert, a molecular evolutionary biologist at the University of Buffalo in New York.

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