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Feb. 22nd, 2008 @ 06:12 am a real genetic headscratcher
This is completely fascinating.

I bet comment #41 has it right.
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From:samholden
Date:February 22nd, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)

Hello, is this the ethics board?

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I'd like to knock out this sequence in some freshly brewed humans and see if religious types can tell the difference from the control group.

Did I try it with the mice? Of course, the mice turned out perfectly fine. We had a lot of mice mysteriously die each night, well their hearts had been gnawed out their chests so the fact that they were dead wasn't the mysterious part I guess. However, that particular batch were actually the only ones not affected in fact - plumper than normal if anything. So the mice thing turned out well.

What? What do you mean no? How about with the monkeys then? Do you happen to know any churches that accept monkeys?


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From:walterzuey
Date:February 22nd, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
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It's an allegory from God. She's saying that we have a moral right to knock off ultra-conservative types like Ann Coulter or Charles Schwab.
From:good43
Date:February 22nd, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
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They are the appendix and the tonsils of the genome?
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From:dmorr
Date:February 22nd, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
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Geneticists are the wrong people to look at those sequences. We need cryptographers.

The only explanation is that those sequences are a message from the creator, final proof that all life is designed. Evolution has no reason to protect useless sequences.


From:vmole
Date:February 22nd, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
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Contrariwise, evolution has no reason to eliminate useless sequences, either. And they might be useful again someday. After all, that's why I still have a VLB graphics card sitting on the shelf.
From:eightbit
Date:February 22nd, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
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You may enjoy reading This Week in Evolution. (c.f. this post)
From:hexag1
Date:February 22nd, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
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The biologists are right that most DNA sequences have been preserved for their functionality. Useless sequences don't contribute to the reproductive success of the .... useful sequences??
The view expressed in the abstract :
...this completely unexpected finding indicates that extreme levels of DNA sequence conservation are not necessarily indicative of an indispensable functional nature.

The problem is with this emphasis on the functional importance of DNA sequences. The phenotypic effect of these sequences is important b/c of the effect on the overall reproductive success of the genome. The important part is that the sequences are 'looking' to be replicated. That is their goal. If they can do that without contributing to the phenotypic expression in the organism they are a part of, then so be it. From the gene's eye view, the only goal is getting copied. If that can be done without contributing to any feature of the organism, then DNA will find a way.

Some might say that there will be a selection pressure against copying non-functional DNA. Surely genomes that eliminate non-functional DNA will save time and energy diring mitosis. But is it really that expensive? Considering how much functional DNA out there that goes unexpressed, I would rather say no. So many genomes store genes for proteins that are never expressed. Old proteins from eons past that don't get expressed. They don't contribute, but get passed on. Why not a sequence that never had any function??
From:last_duchess
Date:February 22nd, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
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on a related note, i wonder if they bred those genetically altered mice and checked out what their kids looked like.
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From:cesarsalad
Date:February 22nd, 2008 10:28 pm (UTC)
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thanks - i love articles like that. i've contemplated adding more science stuff to my blog.

i like one of the comments that it may be some sort of checksum. yeah, it seems very dubious, but that would be cool.