Monday, March 12, 2007

Junk DNA?

I couldnt understand why ID Creationists were suddenly in a rush to claim 'junk DNA is proof for Design'. And they arent stopping. I think I get it now. A few blogs, written by biologists, have debunked similar claims-- And I think we all used different definitions of 'junk DNA':

Me: "A while back we didnt know as much about our genome as we do now, so researchers called these silly bits 'junk DNA'. People used to think that genes that encoded proteins were the only important parts of our genome. However, when it became apparent that too many weird repeats can cause disease (eg Huntington's), ERV bits contribute to the transcription of protein coding genes, and other bits of 'junk' were parts of previously unknown biological processes (eg siRNA), most people stopped using the term 'junk DNA' and started using the term 'noncoding DNA'."

"The genomes of many complex multicellular organisms have vast quantities of DNA that serves no purpose. It's junk."

The Daily Transcript:
"the term junk DNA is commonly used to describe portion of the genome which have no described function"

"Not useful, but not bad enough to be worth eliminating."

(I know there are more people who have addressed this.)

Hmm. Were all saying similar things, but not the same thing. You know what that means: ID Creationists are going to jump ALL OVER IT. They capitalize on any fuzzy area of science to feed Average Joes confusion. Thats why theyve been so excited about 'junk DNA' recently. Maybe we should just drop it entirely? Like I said in the Intro-- I wasnt technically even taught the term 'junk DNA' in the first place, its arcane-- like 'MT Tropic HIV'. Ugh but then the IDC will just scream 'SEE!! NO JUNK DNA!! CREATIONISM IS RIGHT!!!'

Any ideas?

*Searching for 'junk DNA' on Sandwalk, I noticed Larry Moran found Mr. DNA Researcher before me. Quote Larry: "You're welcome to visit whenever you want. But you're still a kook." ROFL!!!


Anonymous said...

The first question is: what does Creationism/ID predict the genome should look like and what is then the "purpose" of "junk" DNA?

Anonymous said...

Any ideas?

The problem is that if someone is just going to reply to everything you say with "IT'S MAGIC LOL!!11", it's as useless as arguing with a four year old who just repeats "why?" over and over.

You can hammer home the points about fossil genes and ERV's (<-- TITLE CAMEO ROFLCANNON!11) all you want, the IDers standard retort is and will always be "it's just common design! LALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOOOO!!"

ERV said...

Good point, Chris. They dont know what anything does, they just know God put it there for a reason (never mind we have to use evolution to figure out what that function is).

Yeah thats what happened in a discussion on ERVs at IIDB. After I think, 8 pages, the Creationist still hadnt addressed the opening post: Why are all these ERVs in a pattern that looks like common descent?