Is Junk Dna Really Just Junk? Essay

Is Junk Dna Really Just Junk? Essay

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Is Junk DNA Really Just Junk?
Home – Junk DNA
In the 1950’s when the process of DNA replication, transcription, and translation was first confirmed it was discovered that a large amount of the double helix didn’t actually contribute to the formation of protein1. This ‘Junk DNA’ wasn’t didn’t undergo transcription or translation and was ‘edited out’ of the RNA chain before it left the nucleus. For the most part this DNA was thought to be useless, a genetic hangover for characteristics which modern man no longer express. However, in the late 1990’s it was theorised that this ‘Non-coding DNA’ was actually an essential part of life, a theory which is now generally accepted to be correct2. Junk DNA controls several important parts of bodily function including gene expression and ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and tRNA production.3

What is Junk DNA
Non-coding DNA can be contributed to the existence of introns. After the raw RNA is created from the existing strands of DNA, the chain of nucleotides undergoes several important changes before it is transported from the cell nucleus to the tRNA in the cytoplasm of the cell.4 A gene can divided into two categories, introns and exons, both of which are present in the pre-mRNA. Exons are the sections of RNA which are translated and ultimately expressed, while introns are areas of the gene which are spliced from the mature mRNA. Because mRNA is translated by ribosomes into polypeptides, only exons are coded for. This process works through a complex network of proteins and enzymes to insure that the final instructions for translation contains only the DNA which needs to be coded.5
The splicing of the pre-cursor mRNA splicing commences with a gathering of helper proteins at the boundary of the introns and...

... middle of paper ... the promoter. Studies suggest these contacts are first achieved during the development of the foetus in embryonic cells.
Yet another use of this non coding DNA is for protection against damage to the chromosomes by using telomeres. Telomeres are regions of repetitive DNA sequences which are situated at the end of most eukaryotic and some prokaryotic chromosomes, which provide a defence against chromosomal deterioration which can occur during the process of DNA replication. Without these telomeres there is a significant risk of DNA unwinding during the process of mitosis 11.

However, after reading this website it can be inferred that so called ‘Junk DNA’ is actually integral to the function of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. Though mislabelled when first discovered it is now know that without these sections of DNA the body cannot function.

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