Newswise — LA JOLLA, CA – Feb. 26, 2018 – A new study in the journal Nature Genetics sheds light on the “dark matter” of the genome. By combing through thousands of human genome sequences, scientists have identified regions of our DNA that rarely change, implying that these regions play important roles in keeping us healthy. 

These new areas of interest belong to the so-called “non-coding” genome—the 98 percent of the genome that doesn’t directly code for proteins but instead regulates how key proteins are produced.

The work was led by San Diego-based Human Longevity, Inc., in collaboration with scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Senior author Amalio Telenti, MD, PhD, plans to build on this work by taking the key regions—which were identified through mathematical analysis—and analyzing their functions in lab experiments.

“We want to poke these areas,” says Telenti, who currently serves as a professor of genomics at TSRI and Chief Data Scientist at The Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI).

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering or Medicine—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. In October 2016, TSRI announced a strategic affiliation with the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), representing a renewed commitment to the discovery and development of new medicines to address unmet medical needs. For more information, see