Revealing Purpose in 'Junk' DNA | The Institute for Creation Research

Revealing Purpose in 'Junk' DNA

Chromosomes are compact linear entities in the nucleus of the cell. They are composed mainly of DNA, some RNA, and proteins called histones. People have been created with 23 matched pairs (46 total) of chromosomes. Years ago, scientists discovered that only about three percent of the human genome (the complete set of DNA inherited from the father and mother) is comprised of genes--about 35,000 of them. The remaining 97 percent was given the unscientific title of "junk" because secular biologists felt that over evolutionary time the DNA had lost its function. This useless DNA was the foundation for the secular argument that the genome was not designed.

Creation scientists countered--as they did with other alleged vestigial organs and tissues--that just because we don't know the function at the present, that doesn't mean the DNA doesn't have some important function. One need only look at the tonsils and appendix that were once taught by Darwinists to be vestigial but are now known, thanks to good scientific research, to serve important functions in the human body.

Sadly, the title "junk DNA" stuck, and hundreds of thousands of biology students and laymen were taught—incorrectly—that the trillions of cells in our body had mostly vestigial or useless genetic material (DNA) that served no function. Today, it is more correct to say that some sections of DNA are non-coding, but are not junk and have an important function.

For example, it has been discovered that some of the formally "useless" DNA actually controls embryos. An article in Developmental Cell magazine1 by Barbara Knowles and others examines the surprisingly high level of DNA called transposable elements (TEs) in the maternal transcriptome in mouse eggs and initial cleavage embryos. TEs or "jumping genes" are a number of types of DNA pieces found in virtually all life forms. They function as promoters (specific areas of a DNA molecule containing sequences required for critical function) for a number of RNA molecules. This scientific research counters the evolutionary assumption that many repetitive TEs in the human genome are useless. "I think a lot of 'junk DNA' has a function, and in a weird way it's controlling gene expression," stated Dr. Knowles.

Cells also contain introns, non-coding sections of DNA that are spliced out of the messenger RNA (mRNA) strand before it leaves the nucleus of a cell to become translated in the cytoplasm. This splicing technique is quite complicated and requires enzymes and energy. Such a complex performance led many to suspect that introns have a control function.2

Creationists continue to state that God doesn't make junk. Instead, we have been "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 137).

References

  1. Hardman, H. 2004. [PSA for Peaston, et al., in Developmental Cell, 2004 7:597606] "Junk" DNA may be very valuable to embryos
  2. Sterner D. A., Carlo T., Berget S. M. 1996. Architectural limits on split genes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 93: 15081-15085.

*Frank Sherwin is a zoologist and seminar speaker for ICR.

Cite this article: Sherwin, F. 2007. Revealing Purpose in "Junk" DNA. Acts & Facts. 36 (8): 13.

The Latest
NEWS
Greenland Lakebed Fits Flood Narrative
Scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Observatory discovered an enormous ancient lakebed beneath the ice on Greenland.1 Although scientists...

NEWS
Inside December 2020 Acts & Facts
What is ICR’s mission? Why are volunteers vital to our ministry? How do you prepare for creation ministry? What legacy does Dr. Henry M. Morris...

ACTS & FACTS
Perhaps Today!
When I was a young boy, I remember a small, humble plaque that hung on the wall in my grandfather’s ICR office directly opposite his desk. Painted...

APOLOGETICS
December, Winter Weather, and Washington
Wintry-mix weather dominated Christmas night in 1776 as General George Washington and his boat-ferried troops crossed the Delaware River to surprise...

ACTS & FACTS
How Do I Prepare for Creation Ministry?
Many of today’s creation researchers can testify that information from the Institute for Creation Research sparked a burning, lifelong passion...

ACTS & FACTS
Dr. Henry M. Morris III: A Kingdom-Focused Life
Dr. Henry M. Morris III has been at the heart of the Institute for Creation Research’s ministry work for decades, using his gifts as a leader,...

DISCOVERY CENTER
Volunteering God's Creation Truth
“Welcome to the ICR Discovery Center!” Kerry greets the guests with a smile as they walk into the exhibit hall. “Is this your first...

ACTS & FACTS
Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?
Scott Arledge and Brian Thomas, Ph.D. “The odds that we are in base reality is one in billions,” says famed inventor Elon Musk.1...

ACTS & FACTS
Osteostracans Aren't Ancestors
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis...

ACTS & FACTS
The Fossils Still Say No: The Cambrian Explosion
The modern theory of evolution has its roots in Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species, in which he proposed the fundamental conjecture...