I want to know what's the approximate percentage of understood human DNA, as in, which part does what. I'm not asking for details, just the amount.

Thank you.

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    $\begingroup$ I am not sure if this can be said. Understanding the human genome is a process still going on today. Additionally this field is moving rather fast. $\endgroup$ – Chris Apr 16 '14 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ You would need to define "understanding". This is not a book where we simply have to read the words. Each "word" can have multiple different functions and we can't say with complete certainty that we understand any of them 100%. We have a pretty good idea about a relatively large part of it but understand is a loaded word. $\endgroup$ – terdon Apr 16 '14 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. So if I understand this, DNA is being deciphered. But, we still can't say for certain that we know what each part exactly mean. Is that correct? $\endgroup$ – Wajih Aziza Apr 17 '14 at 0:37

The devil is in the details, and therefore we cannot just state that we have understood X% of the DNA. We know e.g. that 2% of the human DNA encode proteins. And for a good number of proteins we know what they do. So you might know that a particular codon AGT encodes a serine residue in a protein, which could have a catalytic activity. Or it has a structural activity. Or we are not sure what it does. Sometimes protein-coding and regulatory sequences overlap. So even if we first understood the protein-coding function, there was still the regulatory function to be discovered.

The upshot is that there are multiple levels of understanding, and big controversies of what they actually imply (see e.g. the ENCODE saga).

  • $\begingroup$ Okay, I didn't understand your example but I got what you meant by it. Your answer was satisfactory. Thank you. You also gave me something interesting to read about. $\endgroup$ – Wajih Aziza Apr 17 '14 at 9:58

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