The DNA chromosomes used by genealogy tracking have been referred to as "junk DNA." That is, these parts of the DNA are not actual genes containing instructions for proteins. However, recent study shows that junk DNA is far more important than originally believed. Junk DNA apparently plays a critical role in controlling how cells, organs and other tissues behave. The discovery, considered a major medical and scientific breakthrough, has enormous implications for human health because many complex diseases appear to be caused by tiny changes in hundreds of gene switches.
You can read more in the New York Times at http://goo.gl/Y2ryr.
My thanks to Claire Bettag for telling me about this story.
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