Finding the biological function of different motifs
Discovering new motifs
Identifying which parts of the genome cause diseases
Can be used to repress disease-causing genes
More than 98% of the genome does not code protein sequences. Its function remains mostly uncharacterized. Previously, it was thought that this was “junk” DNA with no function. However, recent studies have shown that this DNA is crucial in the process of transcriptional and translational regulation of protein-coding sequences.
Non-coding DNA regulates DNA that codes for protein sequences by increasing or decreasing the expression of a target gene causing a specific feature/function to change, sometimes drastically.
Certain parts of non-coding DNA/RNA can cause diseases/disorders in humans e.g. mutations in the epsilon4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) occur in the non-coding regulatory region that facilitates transcription, can cause Alzheimer’s disease (a neurodegenerative disease). Identifying which parts of the DNA/RNA sequence are causing such diseases can lead to the better diagnosis and treatment, even potentially a cure.