- The Loom
Junk and Jewels in the Genome
In this Sunday’s issue of the New York Times Magazine, I have a feature about clashing visions of the genome. Is it overwhelmingly made up of “junk”–pieces of DNA that provide us with no useful function–or is it rife with functional pieces that we have yet to understand? Or is the reality of the genome a confusing mixture of the two?
To research this story, I shed some blood so that I could compare my genome to that of an onion. This print-out, annotated by T. Ryan Gregory, shows that an onion has five times more DNA in its genome than mine. I also spent time in the lab of John Rinn at Harvard, where scientists are discovering hints