Cue factors

Our genes were once thought to be responsible for shaping who we are. But now scientists are having a rethink. Thanks to a glut of data from new sequencing projects, researchers are beginning to recognise that the regions of the human genome that encode proteins are unlikely to be behind the millions of differences between people.

So the question remains: what accounts for these differences? Searching for an answer, biologists have pored over the few individual genome sequences that have been completed so far. And these researchers have asked: if the rare stretches of DNA that code for proteins are not responsible for many of the differences found between humans, then what about the remaining 98% of the genome that does not encode proteins – the so-called non-coding DNA?

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