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September 6 2012

Worldwide army of scientists cracks the 'junk DNA’ code

Hailed as the biggest breakthrough in genomics in a decade, the project explained how swathes of DNA once thought to have no purpose, actually form a complex “control panel” for our genes.

The study is expected to lead to new medical treatments by pinpointing key areas of the genome which cause diseases such as cancer.

Certain “switches” have already been linked to 100 diseases including Crohn’s disease, childhood diabetes and schizophrenia. Only one to two per cent of our genome contains genes, the parts of our DNA bearing instructions for the creation of proteins from which cells are made.

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