The garbage paper “The extent of functionality in the human genome” is the highest access at HUGO journal. It is supposed to be a rebuttal of Dan Graur’s exposure of ENCODE. John S Mattick, the first author, is an ‘ENCODE leader’.
One curious feature of HUGO journal is a “Readers’ comments” link. Strangely, no reader left a comment on this highly controversial topic.
That is rather odd, because if the highest accessed paper of the journal never gets a comment, maybe the readers are completely apathetic toward what gets published in the journal. Why should anyone bother to publish anything there?
As it appears, readers are not really apathetic, but the journal editors are working hard to keep their comments away. On August 1st, Dr. Martin Hafner of Institute for Genetics at University of Cologne made the heroic attempt of trying to leave a short (and rather uncontroversial) criticism of Mattick’s paper, but his comment never made to the website. We publish it below with minor spelling corrections.
Larry Moran’s critique
Readers may be interested in Larry Moran’s critique at his Sandwalk blog
(http://sandwalk.blogspot.de/2013/08/the-junk-dna-controversy-john- mattick.html). IMO T. Ryan Gregory’s onion test cited by Mattick is not so much about the fact that onion genomes are bigger than the human genome but rather about the fact that the sizes of the smallest and the biggest onion genomes differ by a factor of 5. One would have to claim different complexities for these onion species if one believes that most sequences are functional.
Will Pubmed Commons fix this problem of arbitrary comment screening? We will discuss that in a forthcoming commentary.