The Noncoding DNA


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Chromosomes typically have a significant amount of noncoding DNA, often found in intergenic

Source: OpenStax Microbiology

OpenStax Microbiology

A genome contains many regions of noncoding DNA that do not encode proteins or stable
RNA products. Noncoding DNA is commonly found in areas prior to the start of coding sequences of genes as well as in intergenic regions (i.e., DNA sequences located between genes).

Prokaryotes appear to use their genomes very efficiently, with only an average of 12% of the genome being taken up by noncoding sequences. In contrast, noncoding DNA can represent about 98% of the genome in eukaryotes, as seen in humans, but the percentage of noncoding DNA varies between species. These noncoding DNA regions were once referred to as “junk DNA”; however, this terminology is no longer widely accepted because scientists have since found roles for some of these regions, many of which contribute to the regulation of transcription or translation through the production of small noncoding RNA molecules, DNA packaging, and chromosomal stability. Although
scientists may not fully understand the roles of all noncoding regions of DNA, it is generally believed that they do have purposes within the cell.


Parker, N., Schneegurt, M., Thi Tu, A.-H., Forster, B. M., & Lister, P. (n.d.). Microbiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: