We’ve been to the moon, we’ve mapped the continents, we’ve even been to the deepest point in the ocean… So what’s left to explore? DARK DNA.
No doubt you have heard of dark matter, which is thought to make up over a quarter of the universe. We know it’s there; we just haven’t been able to detect it.
Well, something similar called DARK DNA is afoot in the genome. Some animal genomes seem to be missing certain genes, ones that appear in other similar species and must be present to keep the animals alive.
The discovery of dark DNA is so recent that we are still trying to work out how widespread it is and whether it benefits those species that possess it.
However, its very existence raises some fundamental questions about genetics and evolution.We may need to look again at how adaptation occurs at the molecular level. Controversially, dark DNA might even be a driving force of evolution.