Molecular Evolution Activities

This is a comprehensive bibliography (under construction) of primary and secondary sources on the neutral theory of molecular evolution. It currently covers the period 1973-2001.

Author :

Zuckerkandl, E.

Year :


Title :

Revisiting Junk DNA

Journal :

Journal of Molecular Evolution

Volume :


Issue :


Pages :


Date :


Short Title :

Revisiting Junk DNA

Alternate Journal :

J. Mol. Evol.

Custom 2 :


Abstract :

The distribution of functions within genomes of higher organisms relative to processes that lead to the spread of mutations in populations is examined in its general outlines. A number of points are enumerated that collectively put in question the concept of junk DNA: the plausible compatibility of DNA function with rapid substitution rates; the likelihood of superimposed functions along much of eukaryotic DNA; the potential for a merely conditional functionality in sequence repeats; the apparent adoption of macromolecular waste as a strategy for maintaining a function without selective grooming of individual sequence repeats that carry out the function; the likely requirement that any DNA sequence must be "polite" vis- a-vis (compatible with) functional sequences in its genomic environment; the existence in germ-cell lineages of selective constraints that are not apparent in populations of individuals; and the fact that DNA tectonics - the appearance and disappearance of genomic DNA - are not incompatible with function. It is pointed out that the inverse correlation between functional constraints and rates of substitution cannot be claimed to be a pillar of the neutral theory, because it is also predicted from a selectionist view-point. The dispensability of functional structures is brought into relation with the concept of reproductive sufficiency - the survivability of genotypes in the absence of fitter alleles.

Notes :

Times Cited: 23 HF424 J MOL EVOL
 -- contributed by John Beatty, March 29, 2002