"So the most amazing thing that we found was that we can ascribe some kind of biochemical activity to 80 percent of the genome. And this really kind of debunks the idea that there's a lot of junk DNA or really if there is any DNA that we would really call junk," NHGRI's Feingold said.
The latter doesn't follow from the former.
Granted, I'm no molecular biologist, but this sentence tripped me up when I first read about Encode. Some biochemical activity? Well, no shit, it's a biomolecule. I was also skeptical due to the sheer scale claimed - I just found it hard to believe that even a few hundred people working for years would find 4 million specific significant genetic
functions when people are still arguing about the function of well-known genes.
It seems PZ Myers
, and he's far from alone (Myers links a few reactions to the presentation of Encode results).
This reminds me of the "life created in lab" nonsense from a year or so back. Now like then, the facts of the matter are quite exciting enough without negligent exaggeration.
Alright, enough negativity! Nay for the PR, yay for the science!