Aggregating Skeptical Thought

Junk DNA and why I hate this term.

Here’s a recent headline from Scientific American, Jumping ‘Junk’ DNA May Fuel Mammalian Evolution. I would like to take a moment and rant about one of my (many) pet peeves with, well, I’m not sure. Sometimes its the media sometimes its members of the scientific community.

I really don’t like the term “Junk DNA” and I’ve never liked the term.  “Junk DNA” implies some kind of finality as if genetic scientists have officially determined that this DNA is truly worthless. We used to cut out tonsils with impunity, your appendix is worthless or somekind of vestigial organ. Of course, now we may have “a force here that was underappreciated before.” Now I am not a genetic scientist and I’m sure there is a reason that this term is used but it just irritates me and almost sets up genetic scientists to look bad when the next “oops, I guess this wasn’t junk after all” breakthrough is reported.

I’m not the only one with this pet peeve, read more at SciAm, “The DNA formerly known as junk

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Filed under: Science

One Response

  1. […] said it before and I’ll say it again, the term “Junk” DNA or RNA is such an arrogant, self-damaging statement that it […]

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