Genes make up only 2 percent of the human genome, and researchers have argued in recent years that the remaining 98 percent may play some hidden, useful role.
Apparently in the plant world, junk DNA really is just junk. While the findings published in the Journal of Nature yesterday May 12 do concern a carnivorous plant, they could have implications for the human genome as well—maybe not.
Scientists have known for decades that the vast majority of the human genome is made of up DNA that doesn’t seem to contain genes or turn genes on or off. This black hole of dark DNA consists of genetic parasites that copy segments of DNA and paste themselves repeatedly in the genome or is made up of fossils of once useful genes that have now been switched off. I would interpret this as being part of evolution.
The findings while researching the carnivorous “bladderwort” plant suggest junk DNA really isn’t needed for healthy plants—and that may also hold true for other organisms, such as humans.
It is, however, still a mystery why some organisms have genomes bloated with junk while other genomes are studies in minimalism.
“One possibility is that there was some evolutionary pressure to strip the genome of extra material. But that’s unlikely given that similar plants with huge genomes don’t seem to fare badly.”
To read the entire article click on Live Science.