junk DNA

junk DNA

segments of DNA that have no apparent genetic function.

Origin:
1990–95

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World English Dictionary
junk DNA
 
n
DNA that consists of repeated sequences of nucleotide and has no apparent function

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
junk DNA   (jŭngk)  Pronunciation Key 
DNA that serves no known biological purpose, such as coding for proteins or their regulation. Junk DNA makes up the vast majority of the DNA in the cells of most plants and animals, composing, for example, about 95 percent of the human genome.
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Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

“junk” DNA definition


Segments of DNA along a chromosome that are not genes, do not code for anything that we know of, and whose purpose we do not understand. Approximately ninety-five percent of the human genome falls into this category. The term junk may be misleading, however, as this DNA may have other functions, such as regulating genes during development.

Note: Some scientists speculate that junk DNA may be archaic material left over from an earlier stage of evolutionary development.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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