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No. 17: Fall 1981

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Why conserve junk?

A. Jeffries, working at Leicester University with globin genes from man and related primates, has been studying how these genes direct the blood cells to make the alpha and beta chains of hemoglobin. Jeffries' analyses seem to indicate that the genes now coding for these hemoglobin chains are almost identical to those existing in human ancestors some 500 million years ago.

Two curious facts have cropped up, however. First, about 200 million years ago, these genes were modified very slightly and relocated to entirely different chromosomes. Second, 95% of the DNA associated with these genes is "junk" -- with no known use. Why did nature conserve junk for 500 million years? Are vital genes in the habit of jumping from one chromosome to another?

(Yanchinski, Stephanie; "DNA: Ignorant, Selfish and Junk," New Scientist, 91:154, 1981.)

From Science Frontiers #17, Fall 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987