‘Junk’ DNA (again)
When introns were discovered, some evolutionists suggested that these represented ‘junk’ DNA. Introns, as well as other sequences which did not code for protein, were considered to be left-overs of evolutionary ancestry — ‘vestigial’ DNA.
History has shown the foolishness of rushing to the ‘vestigial’ argument. Well over 100 organs in the human body were pronounced as useless left-overs of evolution at one stage, but the list has shrunk to almost zero as research has revealed the functions.1
Little by little, the so-called ‘junk’ DNA is revealing its functions.2 In a further revelation, researchers have found that mutations in an intron interfere with imprinting, the process by which only certain maternal or paternal genes are expressed, not both. Expression of both genes results in a variety of diseases and cancers.3,4 The discovered intron segment in some way promotes the transcription of an antisense-RNA sequence which is involved in suppressing the expression of the paternal gene in this case.
The burgeoning field of molecular biology continues to reveal unimagined complexity in the biochemistry of cells. It would be foolish indeed to pronounce anything as ‘junk’. Like the ‘vestigial organs’ idea, it seems that evolutionary ideas about the molecular machines in cells feed on lack of knowledge.
- See our ‘Vestigial’ Organs Questions and Answers. For a comprehensive book on this topic, see Bergman, J. and Howe, G., ‘Vestigial Organs’ are Fully Functional, Creation Research Society Books, Terre Haute, IN, USA, 1990. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Junk moves up in the world, Journal of Creation 8(2):125, 1994. Return to text.
- Reik, W. and Constancia, M., Making sense of antisense? Nature 389:669–671, 1997. Return to text.
- Wutz, A., Smrzka, O.W., et al., Imprinted expression of the Igf2r gene depends on an intronic CpG island. Nature 389:745–749, 1997. Return to text.