Mar 23, 2023

More Jobs for “Junk” DNA (Cont.)

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, employment

If “junk” DNA goes toxic, does that suggest it had an original normal function? See the conclusion of this new paper, “Native functions of short tandem repeats” (emphasis added):

Historically, repetitive elements within human genomes have been viewed as mostly unregulated ‘junk DNA’ that is not under selective evolutionary pressure. As such expansions of these repetitive elements are unfortunate accidents which become apparent and important only when they elicit highly penetrant and syndromic human diseases. Consistent with this line of reasoning, the field of REDs [Repetitive Element Diseases] has largely focused on emergent toxic mechanisms as drivers of disease only in the setting of large STR [Short Tandem Repeats] expansions rather than considering their pathology as alterations in the native functions played by these repeats in their normal genomic contexts. Here, we propose re-framing the discussion around repetitive elements in general — and STRs in particular — within human genomes.

Leave a reply