2004/10/18

Random Note: DNA's Dark Matter

Scientific American's The Hidden Genetic Program of Complex Organismsgrabbed my attention last week.  This could be the biologicalequivalent of the discovery of dark matter.  Basically, the 'junk'or intron DNA that forms a majority of our genome may not be junk atall, but rather control code that regulates the expression of othergenes. 

The programming analogy would be, I think, that the protein-codingparts of the genome would be the firmware or opcodes while the controlDNA is the source code that controls when and how the opcodes areexecuted.  Aside from the sheer coolness of understanding how lifeactually works, there's a huge potential here for doing useful geneticmanipulation.  It's got to be easier to tweak control code than totry to edit firmware... (Free link on same subject: The Unseen Genome.)