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Name: Daulat
Status: Student
Grade:  Other
Location: N/A
Country: United States
Date: May 2005

Is there any significance of intron sequence?

The more we learn about introns, the more we realize that they are, in fact, extremely important. It used to be believed that introns are mere "junk" - after all, if they don't actually code for anything, then what significance could they possibly have. However, we are beginning to understand that introns have very important gene-regulatory functions. For example, they may be spliced out in various alternative ways, allowing a single gene to encode several varying versions of the same protein under different circumstances. It turns out that patterns in gene regulation are at least as important as the genes themselves. And introns play important roles in gene regulation.

There are a couple of good recent Scientific American articles on this topic: "The Unseen Genome" (November, 2003) and "The Hidden Genetic Program of Complex Organisms" (October, 2004).

C. perkins

One of the functions of introns is that they regulate the frequency of transcription (messenger RNA synthesis) of the neighboring exons. Some scientists theorize that they may serve as starting material for the evolution of new genes. Do a search on Google under "intron functions" and you will get many articles on how they function.

Ron Baker, Ph.D.

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