"Junk" DNA is not junk

Majority of cells in the human usually contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, and very few of these DNA (approximately 1-3%), what we usually called ‘genes’, will become protein and form the cell structure. Scientists will usually make use of the proteins or their encoding DNA sequences to reveal the different organisms’ relationships, while the rest of the genome or DNA are usually regarded as useless ‘junk’. In recent years, this concept is rapidly changing, and scientists have discovered that majority of our DNA will become non-coding RNAs that do not encode for proteins. The non-coding RNAs are mainly responsible for regulating the gene expression, with one class known as the microRNAs. Prof. Jerome Hui from the School of Life Sciences, The State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology (Partner Laboratory at the CUHK), and Simon F.S. Li Marine Laboratory, is one of the experts studying microRNAs. He and his team members have discovered that the DNA surrounding microRNAs are indeed not junk!

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Newly discovered DNA as new targets for varieties of studies (left to right: Prof. Ka Hou Chu, Prof. Jerome Hui, Dr. Nathan Kenny)