So even though we’ve talked a little bit about this already in class, here is an article that clarifies it in case there is still some confusion about the purpose of “junk” DNA. (Because I know I’m needing clarification on a lot of these terms!)
This also gives a little information about the ENCODE project, which is the team of researchers working to find out what all the bases of the human genome actually do.
The information on these bases would be useful because…
The insights from this project are helping researchers understand the links between genetics and disease. “We are informing disease studies in a way that would be very hard to do otherwise,” says Ewan Birney, a bioinformatician at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Hinxton, U.K., who led the ENCODE analysis.
This reminds me of when we were discussing cultural/political trends and how they affect the field of anthropology, specifically physical anthropology. (See my post on Michael Little’s history of human biology here: http://anthropology.ua.edu/blogs/eliseduffield/2012/08/27/little-history-and-study-of-human-biology/) The work done by the ENCODE project will help the study of disease–which we might call one of the current trends in physical anthropology research.