Friday, September 05, 2008

Meaningless genetic code helped form human hands

Genetic code once written off as meaningless is today show to have played a potential role in the evolution of the human ability to hold tools and walk upright.

The study is the latest in a long line of evidence to show that the genetics textbooks will have to be rewritten.

It underlines how, even though the human genetic code was read letter by letter for the first time in 2000, geneticists are still struggling to figure out what it means almost a decade later.

When scientists refer to genes, they mean stretches of DNA code that contain the instructions to make the proteins that build and operate the body.

When the genome was first unveiled, it was thought all human genes resided in only around 1.5 per cent of the cell's DNA, prompting some scientists so dismiss the other 98.5 per cent as "junk".

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