OXFORD, U.K. (CBS Atlanta) — They say humans only use 10 percent of our brain. Well it looks like humans may be using even less of our DNA.

A new study has found that humans use only 8.2 percent of their DNA, Live Science reports.

The other 91.8 percent?

Chris Ponting, professor of genomics at the University of Oxford in England and the study’s co-lead research believes that around two billion of the other lettered DNA just isn’t functional.

“[The ENCODE project] counted all pieces of DNA on which some protein activity occurred, whether or not that activity was useful to the cell,” Ponting told Live Science.

Meanwhile, Dan Graur, a professor of molecular evolutionary biology at theUniversity of Houston in Texas who was not involved with the new study, believes that the most of our DNA is junk.

“Whether people like it or not, the vast majority of our genome is junk,” Graur said before adding, “We know that because we have so many organisms that have much smaller genomes than we do and organisms that have much larger genomes than we have. The size of your genome is not really what matters.”

It is important to note that the functions the 8.2 percent of human DNA do carry out are extremely important in coding for almost all of the human body’s biological functions.

Because of this, it may make finding the cause of many diseases and disorders much easier for researchers, such as those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If we’re going to look where disease-causing mutations are, we only have to look in less than 10 percent of the genome,” Ponting said.

It definitely reduces the size of the haystack researchers are trying to find their needle in.


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