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« Worldviews and Public Policy | Main | The Laws of Nature »

September 25, 2013


For decades, there were people, some of them scientists, who said: if a bit of DNA doesn't code for a protein, then it must be junk.

And, for decades, there were also people, some of them scientists, who said: if a bit of DNA is there, then it must be doing something useful for the organism - otherwise natural selection would weed it out as wasteful.

Both groups were wrong. Some non-coding DNA has proved to serve a purpose, some has proved not to serve any purpose, and the status of the rest has not yet been decided.

At one time, I would have said that the greatest weakness [of ID] was the failure of ID proponents to put a theory on the table that makes testable predictions, but that all changed with Jonathan Wells's book, The Myth of Junk DNA

In 1942, Jonathan Wells was born.

Around 1950, Barbara McClintock presented experimental evidence that transposons (a kind of noncoding DNA) regulated gene expression.

In 1972, the term 'junk DNA'* was coined.

Since 1969, if not before, scientists have been continually proposing numerous other functions (besides regulation) for various kinds of non-coding DNA.

In about 1972, Bradley Monton was born.

In 1983, Barbara McClintock won a Nobel Prize for her work on transposons.

In 1988, if not before, people published direct empirical evidence of non-coding functions of DNA.

In 1995, if not before, scientists began finding that some non-coding DNA was conserved (i.e. the same) across the genomes of multiple species. This allows one to predict on an evolutionary basis that a particular stretch of noncoding DNA has function. Success from 1995.

In 2011, Discovery Institute put out The Myth of Junk DNA.

In 2013, Bradley Monton acknowledged the testable predictions of ID!

*At first, it referred only to what we now call 'pseudogenes' - DNA that arose through gene duplication and then, by mutation, ceased to code for the original protein.

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