Re: [asa] "junk" DNA

From: <>
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 12:27:09 EDT

Ted wrote:

> ID adherents have for some time been saying precisely this: that "junk DNA"
> isn't junk, that it probably does have a function as yet unknown. This
> follows from their overall view of biology, and it's fair for them to
> trumpet this. It is not fair for you to deny them their point.

Well, that is an interesting point, though "design"
has a bit of a paradoxical twist.

It is true that there appears to be an enormous amount
of non-coding RNA that _may_ have function. Exactly what
function it has is not clear at this point. One possibility
is that it modulates alternative splicing of introns. Introns
are inserts within the coding sequence (the exons) for a protein.
In the mature messenger RNA, these inserts are spliced out. These
introns can be quite long (typically 3000 nucleotides long but
sometimes much longer). Exactly where they came from or what
they do is also a matter of debate. However, many genes have
adopted a pattern of alternative splicing which permits a coding
protein to take on more than one form. In effect, where the exon
ends and the intron begins is blurred. With hundreds of liver
cells, heart cells, some form of differentiation is being done.
This differentiation may be the role of these non-coding RNAs
particularly in the early stages of differentiation.

But whereas it is clear that there is probably more structure
than we thought, it is also quite frankly unknown what these
things are doing.

Moreover, it is a bit paradoxical. We view parasites as being
the lowest down thing on the planet. In a way, introns look
a lot like parasites. Other other known non-coding RNAs like
alus, sines, and transposons also look a lot like this.

With the non-coding RNAs, one cannot help but wonder. Yet if
these RNAs really modulating alternative splicing, that means that
that they have become essential in fact: whether it is the intron or
the non-coding RNA. Many sex determining
genes are known to involve alternative splicing. Moreover,
we human appear to have the largest amount of non-coding
RNA. So on the face of it, it appears as though it is
another parasite, yet if it didn't exist, neither would we.

It reminds me that God uses even the wicked for his purposes.

Seeing through the glass dimly.
by Grace we proceed,

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Received on Thu Jun 14 12:28:13 2007

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