Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's the junk that makes us human

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Categories : Science, Biology, Evolution

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published: jeudi 9 novembre 2006 17:52:38

Anyone who has ever put together self-assembly furniture knows that having the right parts is important, but what you do with them can make or break the project. The same seems to be true of the vast amounts of DNA in an organism's genome that used to be labelled as junk. Studies now indicate that this DNA may be responsible for the signals that were crucial for human evolution, directing the various components of our genome to work differently from the way they do in other organisms.

The findings seem to bolster a 30-year-old hypothesis that gene regulation - not the creation of new genes - has moulded the traits that make us unique.

More in this week's Nature (registration required)

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