Junk DNA is the Rodney Dangerfield of the genetics world. It makes up nearly half of all human DNA, but many scientists dismiss it as useless gibberish. A new study published online today from the June 2002 issue of Nature Genetics, however, suggests that segments of junk DNA called LINE-1 elements deserve more respect.



Conducted by scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School and Louisiana State University, the study is the first to show in mammalian cells that some human LINE-1, or L1, elements can jump to chromosomes with broken strands of DNA, slip into the break and repair the damage.

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