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Though the sequence of the human genome was completed over ten years ago, the ENCODE1 project is now trying to make sense of it all. Scientists know very little about the function of the parts of DNA that do not encode proteins (in contrast to the parts of DNA called genes that are the instruction manuals for proteins). About 98 percent of human DNA has been termed “junk” because secularists assumed it was left over from our evolutionary past as we evolved from a single cell to human.
The new results from the ENCODE project offer an estimate that at least 80 percent of the human genome shows some activity and may be functional. Researchers discovered that much of the “junk” DNA regulates genes, switching them on and off as necessary to produce the proteins that compose the body. The project’s goal is to figure out the function of each one of the three billion bases of human DNA.
In the past, most research focused on the DNA of genes that coded for different proteins, and essentially ignored the rest. Molecular geneticist and creationist Dr. Georgia Purdom observed: “So much for ‘junk’ DNA!” More seriously, she added, “Unfortunately, for many years the evolutionary assumption that noncoding DNA was nonfunctional ‘junk’—and hence not worth studying—actually inhibited our understanding of the human genome.”
Far from being a relatively simple, linear string of information, human DNA is proving to be a three-dimensional, multilayer program of such breathtaking complexity that scientists expect to spend at least the rest of the century unraveling it.
In contrast to the secularist view that expected “junk” to clutter the genome after eons of time, creationists had predicted that the all-wise Creator had designed amazing, functional complexity into DNA, as ENCODE is now confirming.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.