Like there’s a mysterious dark matter that accounts for 85% of our universe, there is a “dark” part of the human genome that has baffled scientists for decades. A study featured on March 9, in Genome Research, identifies new parts of the fruit genome that was hidden in these dark regions.
The paper titled “Gene Expression Networks in the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel” is the fruits of years of research by Clemson University geneticists Trudy Mackay and Robert Anholt. Their breakthroughs may significantly advance science’s understanding of several genetic disorders.
The “dark” portion refers back to approximate 98% of the genome that does not appear to have any apparent function.
Merely 2% of the human genome codes for proteins, the building blocks of human bodies and the catalysts of the chemical reactions that help humans thrive.
Scientists have been perplexed by this notion since the Seventies, when gene sequencing technologies had been first found, revealing the part of coding to noncoding areas of the genome.
Genes are often thought to be transcribed into RNAs, that are then translated into proteins, as dictated by the main dogma of molecular biology.
Some have suggested that noncoding areas might include regulatory regions that control gene expression and the structure of chromosomes, yet these hypotheses had been challenging to study in past years as diagnostic technology was growing.