Back in 2003, a group of really smart scientists all over the world finally mapped the human genome. Since then, they have continued research in the human DNA sequence and finally released nine years of findings on Wednesday! The nerds in us FTeamsters are so excited for the scientists and all of human kind because this is just really awesome. Not kidding at all.
There are a lot of super scholarly details, but the bulk of it is that 442 scientists from all over the world worked together on the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, also known as ENCODE. (Clever, no?) In actuality, they were decoding those extremely long strands of tiny molecules... to find out what each little bit really did.
The Human Genome Project taught us that DNA coded for special molecules called proteins that help our bodies function properly. However, that part of the DNA was not even 2 percent of the entire code. What was the rest, then?
For a while, scientists reasoned that while some of the rest regulated protein production and other body processes, the majority of the genome must be junk--meaningless mishaps accumulated over billions of years. On Wednesday, though, these 442 scientists suggested through their published findings that perhaps 80% of the human genome--much of which was alleged "junk"--might actually control more than we had supposed. These sections of the DNA are switches that control a lot more and in a lot more detail than we had previously estimated. Time Magazine reveals that there may even be a switch to tell a skin cell when to replace one that has flaked off. These findings further reveal the beauty of DNA and the extent of its control of our lives.
So there. Cool fact of the day. Tell your friends and tell us--what do YOU think?