A couple months ago I wrote about Junk DNA and intelligent design. Here’s what I said:
“The Intelligent Design community has been bragging about a supposedly true prediction they made: that ‘junk DNA’ would turn out to have a function. If you recall, ‘junk DNA’ or non-coding DNA, is DNA that does not code for proteins, and some it of it (but not all of it) is thought to be leftovers of evolutionary history. Now it turns out that at least some noncoding DNA does have a function (which isn’t surprising, evolutionary biologists themselves have been saying that for years). To see the Intelligent Design myth busted, I’d suggest PZ Myers’ Skepticon talk here and a new scientific paper published here.”
Now we can do even better than that. Here’s some new research on the issue:
“[A] new study offers an unexpected insight: The large majority of noncoding DNA, which is abundant in many living things, may not actually be needed for complex life, according to research set to appear in the journal Nature.
“The clues lie in the genome of the carnivorous bladderwort plant, Utricularia gibba.
“The U. gibba genome is the smallest ever to be sequenced from a complex, multicellular plant. The researchers who sequenced it say that 97 percent of the genome consists of genes — bits of DNA that code for proteins — and small pieces of DNA that control those genes.
“It appears that the plant has been busy deleting noncoding ‘junk’ DNA from its genetic material over many generations, the scientists say. This may explain the difference between bladderworts and junk-heavy species like corn and tobacco — and humans.”