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Author Topic:   Random DNA Sequences Contain Information
Posts: 7557
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.8

Message 1 of 2 (815385)
07-19-2017 4:48 PM

What are the chances that a random DNA sequence will have beneficial function, and therefore information? A lot better than you may think.

A team of researches inserted random DNA sequences into E. coli and then tested to see if those random DNA sequences increased fitness. To their surprise, 25% of the random DNA sequences were beneficial as either RNA molecules or as proteins.

Random sequences are an abundant source of bioactive RNAs or peptides

Rafik Neme, Cristina Amador, Burcin Yildirim, Ellen McConnell & Diethard Tautz

Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0127 (2017)


It is generally assumed that new genes arise through duplication and/or recombination of existing genes. The probability that a new functional gene could arise out of random non-coding DNA is so far considered to be negligible, as it seems unlikely that such an RNA or protein sequence could have an initial function that influences the fitness of an organism. Here, we have tested this question systematically, by expressing clones with random sequences in Escherichia coli and subjecting them to competitive growth. Contrary to expectations, we find that random sequences with bioactivity are not rare. In our experiments we find that up to 25% of the evaluated clones enhance the growth rate of their cells and up to 52% inhibit growth. Testing of individual clones in competition assays confirms their activity and provides an indication that their activity could be exerted by either the transcribed RNA or the translated peptide. This suggests that transcribed and translated random parts of the genome could indeed have a high potential to become functional. The results also suggest that random sequences may become an effective new source of molecules for studying cellular functions, as well as for pharmacological activity screening.

Not only is information present in random DNA sequences, it is very common. This counters the ID claim that information can only come about if an intelligence puts it there.

Preferred forum: Biological Evolution

Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003

Message 2 of 2 (815387)
07-19-2017 4:55 PM

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