It's been almost 10 years since the Human Genome Project
shed light on just what it is that makes us tick. While it was a huge step forward and a massive achievement in the field of science, it still left a lot of things to be explained. It also left us with the awkward prospect that a lot of our DNA -- the vast majority of it, in fact -- didn't really seem to be doing anything
. Most of the approximately 3 billion base pairs that make up the blueprints for a person, it seemed, were just loafing around, letting the 23,000 genes that make up only about 1% of the genome take care of business. To square this circle, researchers around the world formed the research group ENCODE
to look for the purpose of all that so called "junk DNA." Today, the project, coordinated by the National Human Genome Research Institute
, announced that they've pinpointed more than 4 million sites where specific proteins interact with DNA
making significant strides toward that goal.