Dark DNA anyone?

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Dark DNA anyone?

Postby Brian Jordan » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:10 am

I got this teaser in an email from New Scientist. I can't read the article without subscribing but it might be worth a Google or two.
Dark DNA: The missing matter at the heart of nature

The discovery that some animals thrive despite hugely mutated DNA hidden in their genome is forcing us to rethink some basics of evolution

THE fat sand rat is a strange creature. It lives in burrows, eats around 80 per cent of its body mass in leaves each day and doesn’t drink water. But the really odd thing about this gerbil is that some of its DNA appears to be missing.

No doubt you have heard of dark matter, which is thought to make up over a quarter of the universe. We know it’s there; we just haven’t been able to detect it. Well, something similar is afoot in the genome. My colleagues and I have dubbed this elusive genetic matter “dark DNA”. And our investigations into the sand rat are starting to reveal its nature.

The discovery of dark DNA is so recent that we are still trying to work out how widespread it is and whether it benefits those species that possess it. However, its very existence raises some fundamental questions about genetics and evolution. We may need to look again at how adaptation occurs at the molecular level. Controversially, dark DNA might even be a driving force of evolution.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23731680-200-dark-dna-the-missing-matter-at-the-heart-of-nature/?utm_medium=NLC&utm_source=NSNS&utm_campaign=NLCNSNS2018-0308-GLOBAL-NSNEW&utm_content=NSNEW
Of course, the creationists will start going on about junk/not-junk DNA, I suppose.
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