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Junk DNA

Junk DNA:

Using artificial intelligence, researchers have found potential cancer drivers hidden in so-called ‘junk’ regions of DNA.

  • Junk DNA refers to regions of DNA that are noncoding.
  • DNA contains instructions (coding) that are used to create proteins in the cell.
  • However, the amount of DNA contained inside each cell is vast, and not all of the genetic sequences present within a DNA molecule actually code for a protein.
  • Some of this noncoding DNA is used to produce non-coding RNA components such as transfer RNA, regulatory RNA and ribosomal RNA.
  • However, other DNA regions are not transcribed into proteins, nor are they used to produce RNA molecules and their function is unknown. These are known as junk regions of DNA.
  • The proportion of coding versus noncoding DNA varies significantly between species.
  • In the human genome, for example, almost all (98%) of the DNA is noncoding, while in bacteria, only 2% of the genetic material does not code for anything.
  • However, over the years, researchers have found evidence to suggest that junk DNA may provide some form of functional activity.