Having just seen the movie “Lucy” which reaffirms just how little of our brain capacity we take advantage of (less than 10) it’s only fitting that scientists are insisting now that only 8.2% of our DNA is actually functional.
The figure of 8.2% is very different from one given in 2012, when some scientists involved in the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) project stated that 80% of our genome has some biochemical function.
That claim has been controversial, with many in the field arguing that the biochemical definition of ‘function’ was too broad – that just because an activity on DNA occurs, it does not necessarily have a consequence; for functionality you need to demonstrate that an activity matters. To reach their figure, the Oxford University group took advantage of the ability of evolution to discern which activities matter and which do not. They identified how much of our genome has avoided accumulating changes over 100 million years of mammalian evolution – a clear indication that this DNA matters, it has some important function that needs to be retained. So apparently, not much matters.