Study clarifies how 'junk DNA' influences gene expression

For decades, scientists have known that, despite its name, "junk DNA" in fact plays a critical role: While the coding genes provide blueprints for building proteins, which direct most of the body's functions, some of the ...

A NICER approach to genome editing

The gene editing technique CRISPR/Cas9 has allowed researchers to make precise and impactful changes to an organism's DNA to fix mutations that cause genetic disease. However, the CRISPR/Cas9 method can also result in unintended ...

The 'unknome': A database of human genes we know almost nothing about

Researchers from the United Kingdom hope that a new, publicly available database they have created will shrink, not grow, over time. That's because it is a compendium of the thousands of understudied proteins encoded by genes ...

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Human genome

The human genome is the genome of Homo sapiens, which is stored on 23 chromosome pairs. Twenty-two of these are autosomal chromosome pairs, while the remaining pair is sex-determining. The haploid human genome occupies a total of just over 3 billion DNA base pairs. The Human Genome Project (HGP) produced a reference sequence of the euchromatic human genome, which is used worldwide in biomedical sciences.

The haploid human genome contains an estimated 20,000–25,000 protein-coding genes, far fewer than had been expected before its sequencing. In fact, only about 1.5% of the genome codes for proteins, while the rest consists of RNA genes, regulatory sequences, introns and (controversially) "junk" DNA.

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