>It is not simply one chimp from which this epsilon pseudogene has been
>partially removed. It is all chimps. Are you suggesting that maybe all
>chimps are living in pain? Remember that the pseudogene doesn't work in any
>of the animals listed above.
This fact is far from being established. Even a deletion does not assure
that something doesn't perform a function. After all, having blue eyes is
certainly different than brown, but by no means a fatal flaw, and at the
molecular level hardly a discernable difference. To infer that something
has no function is very difficult indeed, especially in higher organisms.
The coding lacks the introns and lacks the
>control section. Because of this, it can't manufacture a protein in any of
>the animals. The removal of a small section of this pseudogene in the chimp
>merely confirms that it had no function.
No, it merely confirms that we have not yet discovered a function for it
yet. One thing that immediately comes to mind is regulation. This is
especially apparent in the beta globin genes, where a pseudogene precedes
the three successively synthesized genes produced in the embryo, and
another pseudogene precedes the two genes produced in the adult. Very
little attention has been paid to the fact that the genes are in precisely
the order of function in the development of the infant. The probability of
that arrangement by chance is miniscule, and there is no apparent reason
why it might be important to the survival of the infant, unless it is
because the arrangement makes it possible for the precise timing of the
production of the various forms. If that is the case, the "pseudogenes"
are appropriately placed to perform a function in regulation, although I
have no clue as to what that function might be yet. You should be aware
too that old "pseudogenes" are popping off the list about as fast as new
"pseudogenes" are popping on the list, as functions are discovered for them.