Friday, 7 September 2012

Junk DNA not quite so useless

There's an interesting post from Dick Eastman's blog in the United States, linking to an article in the New York Times about the so called "junk DNA" within our DNA profiles, within which measurements are drawn on certain chromosomes for genealogical research. The idea of using this area is that junk DNA is supposed to be completely redundant - it has no medical use, so you won't suddenly discover some predisposition to a potential illness by measuring it.

The thing is, the boffins have now worked out that some of it is not in fact redundant at all, and that some previously dismissed areas of junk DNA do in fact have certain functions in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. It may not be quite within the area where the genealogists are playing just now, but it does point out that the science is still in its infancy, and actually there is a hell of a lot still to learn about our genomes. The article is at The question perhaps needs to be asked, is the area of junk DNA used for genealogy research as redundant as believed?

(With thanks to Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog)


Check out my Scotland's Greatest Story research service
New book: It's Perthshire 1866 - there's been a murder... (from June 12th 2012)

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