Here is a guest post that Dan Graur didn’t write:

Dear ENCODE researchers,

First of all, allow me to congratulate you on delivering such a large and complex project.  The results of your research will benefit many 100s of scientists throughout the world, and the resources generated are invaluable.

However, I have to disagree with the headline figure that 80% of the genome is functional.  This contradicts much of the research in this area, and I feel you have used an incorrect definition of the term “functional”.


  1. Transcription does not equal function
  2. Histone modification does not equal function
  3. Open chromatin does not equal function
  4. Transcription-factor binding does not equal function
  5. DNA-methylation does not equal function

It is unfortunate that the headline figure of 80% functionality has taken away much focus from the success of the project.  It is also unfortunate how many journalists treated this particular piece of information.

However, I do appreciate that science, like many other disciplines, requires, and benefits from, people with opposing views.  Your view of functionality certainly opposes mine; however, at the very least, what you have achieved is to stimulate debate on the topic, which is of benefit to everyone


Not Dan Graur

DISCLAIMER: Dan Graur has nothing to do with the above post.  I have written this in response to Dan’s paper here, the tone of which I feel is of no benefit to anyone, and which sets a bad example to young scientists.