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Science talk to cover how genetic junk contributes to disease

Junk, it would seem, is ubiquitous. There's junk mail, junk food and, yes, even junk amongst our genes.

Biologists used to think that genetic junk, or noncoding DNA, didn't do much. However, more recent evidence suggests some of it helps regulate and protect genes that do serve as blueprints for making proteins or RNA.

And sometimes small changes in that junk DNA can have profound effects on people's health.

Andy Berglund, a chemistry professor and co-director of the bioinformatics program at the University of Oregon, will give a talk July 10 about how such small genome changes contribute to a form of adult-onset muscular dystrophy.

Berglund's talk will be part of the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry's regular Science Pub series at Calapooia Brewery in Albany.

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