Funny thing about DNA science: when huge breakthroughs get proclaimed, they generally only lead to more questions and collapse into hype upon any serious scrutiny.? Likewise, when baffling new mysteries are announced, they tend to point the way towards a fuller understanding of the DNA cipher. Case in point — this weekend’s headline, Mysterious DNA Found to Survive Eons of Evolution.
The precise term is “ultraconserved sequences,” and as one observer on the RI forum eloquently summarized it, “this mutation-free DNA has shared eveolutionary benefits through out the entire class Mammilia without producing a visible or identifiable shared characteristic.” More meat from the article itself:
…about 500 regions of our DNA have apparently remained intact throughout the history of mammalian evolution, or the past 80 million to 100 million years, basically free of mutations. The researchers call these mystery snippets “ultraconserved regions,” and found that they are about 300 times less likely than other regions of the genome to be lost during the course of mammalian evolution.? “These regions seem to be under intense purifying selection – almost no mutations take hold permanently,” said researcher Gill Bejerano.
Technoccult readers might also be interested in the lucid heresy of Dr. Andras J. Pellionisz, author of the Fractogene website. This new discovery connects quite perfectly with the Pellionisz theory that genes aren’t a sequential list of instructions but rather a fractal and iterative template for organic growth. I would also highly recommend the work of Chris King, who’s been making the same assertion about the fabric of the entire universe.? He recently published a dense but readable 7 page summary of his work, Why the Universe is Fractal, that’s worth printing out and chewing over.