Award for junk DNA scientist, reported by Sydney Morning Herald, 13 March 2012. Australian geneticist John Mattick has received the Chen Award given by the Human Genome Organisation for distinguished academic achievement for his contribution to human genome research in challenging the concept of “Junk DNA” and showing that any DNA that does not code for proteins, is not useless but actually does have a function in making RNA. Mattick commented: “The ideas I put forward 10 years ago were quite radical but I thought I was right”. He went on to say: “The obvious and very exciting possibility was that there is another layer of information being expressed by the genome – that the non-coding RNAs form a massive and previously unrecognised regulatory network that controls human development.”
Editorial Comment: Junk DNA is now often referred to as “non-coding DNA” but, as John Mattick’s research has shown, neither “junk” nor “non-coding” are not an appropriate names for it. It may not be used to code for proteins, but it does contain code for making RNA, and the RNA molecules it codes for have been found to have many important functions, especially in regulating other genes, as well as controlling essential cell functions. Many of these RNAs are now called Regulatory RNAs, (See Nature Insight 16 February 2012) so it would be appropriate to call the DNA that codes for it as Regulatory DNA. In the ten years since Mattick challenged the idea of Junk DNA and carried out his research, there have been many discoveries involving “non-coding RNAs” and Mattick predicts there are many more to come.
Mattick is not the only one to challenge the concept of Junk DNA. In the year 2000 when the Human Genome was first revealed to the world Creation Research received many questions about it including “Is ‘Junk DNA’ a leftover from evolution?” Our reply was: “Junk DNA is defined as DNA without genetic meaning. We may not have identified a function for most of the DNA in the human genome but this does not mean it is junk. The problem for junk DNA proponents is the same as it was for vestigial organs (e.g. appendix). The fact that we don’t know the function of something in the body, be it an organ or a piece of DNA, is an indication of our ignorance, not our origin. If we don’t know the function of something the true scientific approach is to do more research and find out what it does”.
In 2003 we wrote in our e-mail newsletter: “We predict that most apparently non-coding DNA bits will turn out to be functional despite the degeneration that has occurred since the Fall of Man and Noah’s flood, which will have damaged some of our original DNA”. (See our report Baffled Molecular Biologists) Since then the results of research such as Mattick’s have far exceeded our expectations, and we don’t mind admitting we don’t know as much as the Creator who placed all that intricate information in place and designed the system that uses and regulates it. We look forward to more discoveries because the results of research into “non-coding” DNA and RNA confirm that creation is a better basis for scientific research than evolution. This does not mean all DNA and RNA researchers are creationists. It just means their discoveries were made in spite of the theory of evolution, not because of it. (Ref. prediction, genetics, transcription, nucleic acids)
Evidence News 28 March 2012