Perspectives on ENCODE and Junk DNA

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As most ENV readers are aware, the scientific blogosphere has been abuzz in recent weeks over the recently published ENCODE results.Since the announcement of these findings (which I noted briefly here at the time), I have been closely following the ongoing discussion. I have also since then had the chance to delve somewhat into the “flagship” Nature publication. The primary criticism of the results relates to ENCODE’s seemingly rather loose definition of “function.” For our own purposes, as ID theorists and advocates, we understand DNA elements to be “functional” if they confer some kind of positive phenotypic benefit to the host. The scientists behind ENCODE, however, seem to have understood “functional DNA” to include any stretch of DNA that harbors any kind of detectable chemical activity.

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