Further to my earlier post on the ENCODE project (EP) work on junk DNA (Far From ‘Junk,’ DNA Dark Matter Proves Crucial to Health) and the comment by Ankur Charravarthy of Explorable on what it means, a more detailed piece on what is new, what is not, and what the implications for future research and treatment may be. A bit detailed but interesting. Quote:
What the EP results show (though they’re not the first or only ones to do so) is how complex and multiply interlinked even our minutest processes are. Everything discussed in the EP work and in this and many other articles takes place within the cell nucleus, yet the outcomes can make and unmake us. The results also show how much we still need to learn before we can confidently make changes at this level without fear of unpredicted/unpredictable side effects. That’s for the content part. As for the style, it’s true that some level of flamboyance may be necessary to get across to a public increasingly jaded by non-stop eye- and mind-candy.
However, people are perfectly capable of understanding complex concepts and data even if they’re not insider initiates, provided they examine them without wishing to shoehorn them into prior agendas. Accuracy does not equal dullness and eloquence does not equal hype. The EP results are important and will be very useful – but they’re not paradigm shifters or miracle tablets and should not pretend to be.