Junk DNA, not so junky anymore.

Un-Junking Junk DNA is hot off the presses.  “Islands” of protein coding DNA are separated by “oceans” (large swaths of “junk” DNA) that appear to be important in determining just how the mRNA in these islands is alternatively spliced together to make a variety of different proteins. Conventional definitions of DNA superstructure require these islands of DNA to be separated by vast stretches of junk DNA. If so, how do they physically interact? Could it be that DNA structure is being over simplified?  Perhaps, the linear DNA model should be modified like the time-space model. It can curve onto itself and even make “worm holes” that allow interactions between the junk DNA and the protein-coding DNA that generate potential mRNA splicing pathways. In other words, the DNA is more circular than linear. Check out these two models in which circular DNA elements involving both protein-coding and “junk” DNA can be used to generate mRNAs using alternative splicing.

Intron lariat model

Linear intron model

All models

About frankabernathy

I am a retired cell biologist and alumnus of Ohio State University. I became interested in chromosomes as far back as the 1960's when I wrote a term paper on the effects of radiomimetic drugs on chromosomes. I was fascinated at how they could break apart and reform new structures so easily. I became further involved in the early 1970's after taking a cytogenetics course at the University of Arkansas. I took that knowledge with me to Ohio State in 1980 where I eventually worked on my research and completed my Ph.D. dissertation, "Studies on Eukaryotic DNA Superstructure". My studies and later research suggested that the DNA within the eukaryotic chromosome is not the simple, linear molecular thread so widely suggested in all the classic textbooks published today. Instead, it may be the culmination of a geologically rapid set of endosymbiotic events where microorganisms plug into each other to create something greater than themselves. Feel free to contact me at fabernathy@sbcglobal.net.
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2 Responses to Junk DNA, not so junky anymore.

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