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Sep 11, 2021

Mammals Carry a Graveyard of Viruses in Our DNA, And It Could Have a Crucial Purpose

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Huge swaths of our DNA library are made up of non-coding genes that were long regarded as “junk DNA”. Recent findings, however, have shown these bits of DNA actually have many purposes in mammals.

Some help form the structure in our DNA molecules so they can be packaged neatly within our cell nuclei while others are involved in gene regulation. Now, researchers from the University of New South Wales in Australia have discovered another potential purpose for these non-coding instructions, within the genomes of marsupials.

Some of the gene sequences once considered “junk” are actually fragments of viruses left buried in our DNA from an infection in a long-forgotten ancestor.

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