This is very apropos considering my previous post.
- “Junk” DNA: A Functionally Critical Component of the Genome
- “Junk” DNA studies continue to provide evidence for design. This type of noncoding DNA has been championed as an icon of evolution. Evolutionary biologists maintain that because junk DNA is an imperfection, it provides incontrovertible evidence for evolution because a Creator would not make mistakes. In this research 40-70% of the noncoding DNA sequences in Drosophila display a mutational pattern similar to that observed for functional DNA sequences. This implies that noncoding, so-called junk DNA plays a role in the genome. As scientists uncover more and more functional importance of junk DNA, their work points to the activity of an intelligent Designer in the shaping of organisms’ genomes.
- Peter Andolfatto, “Adaptive Evolution of Non-Coding DNA in Drosophila, Nature 437 (2005): 1149-52.
- Related Resource
- “Yet Another Use for Junk DNA” by Fazale Rana
Adaptive Evolution of Non-Coding DNA in Drosophila
On the basis of these observations, I suggest that a large fraction of the non-translated genome is functionally important and subject to both purifying selection and adaptive evolution. These results imply that, although positive selection is clearly an important facet of protein evolution, adaptive changes to non-coding DNA might have been considerably more common in the evolution of D. melanogaster.