Science | Research finds ‘noncoding’ DNA plays a critical role in sex development
by Anna Johansen
Posted 6/28/18, 04:59 pm
Scientists used to tout “junk” DNA as useless debris leftover from evolution, but a recent study shows that the microscopic strands hold another surprise: the power to determine sex.
Researchers from the Francis Crick Institute used a genetic technique to remove a small section of noncoding DNA from male mice embryos. As the mice developed, they grew ovaries instead of testes. It’s not the first time researchers have experimented with sex reversal in mice, but it’s the first time they’ve done so by tampering with noncoding DNA instead of the kind of DNA that creates proteins.