Purpose of “Junk DNA” Potentially Found: NEAT1 and Paraspeckles
“We have discovered that the role of ‘Neat1’, a non-coding RNA, is to be the structural foundation for paraspeckles, an important storehouse within the nucleus of every cell,” she said.
“When the human genome was mapped, it was a big surprise that only two percent of it was made up of protein-coding genes – of which there are between 20,000 to 25,000 genes.
“However, that two percent alone can’t explain our complexity as humans, so the question has remained – what is the function of the remaining 98 percent of our genomes if it’s not to make protein?
“In our research, we concentrated on the purpose of ‘Neat1’ – a type of non-coding RNA, and we found that its role is to create the structure for paraspeckles.”
In 2002, Dr Fox was the first to discover paraspeckles which are found in the nucleus of a cell and function like warehouses, storing the building materials for important proteins, so that when the cell places an order, the materials are released allowing proteins to be produced.