Re: Psuedogenes, adaptive mutations

Dick Fischer (
Fri, 03 May 1996 13:41:03 -0500

At 01:42 PM 4/30/96 +0000, Braxton wrote:
>I am sure these subjects have been dealt with, so I would be grateful
>if someone would give me the reference.
>On the remote chance that they have not:
>Max (1986) identified major amounts of (mostly) identical 'non-sense' DNA
>(psuedogenes) common to both chimpanzees and humans. This gets around
>the argument that the similarities are due to convergence and seems to be a
>knockdown argument for common ancestry.

Funny you should ask. I talked with Ed Max on the phone yesterday. My
latest issue of Acts and Facts (what a misnomer!) reported a recent debate
he had with Duane Gish. What Max discovered was two processed pseudo-
genes that are common to man, gorilla, and chimp. I personally think the
argument for shared common ancestry is solid on that point.

He gave me two references concerning retroposons which are also
copied and passed along with nuclear DNA:

Journal of Molecular Evolution
Vol. 22, 1985, pp 316-322.
Vol. 24, 1986, pp 94-102.

As an aside, I asked Ed Max why he published in a popular journal rather
than in _Cell_ or one of the scholarly medical journals. His response
was that shared common ancestry was so commonly accepted among his peers,
he is a gene researcher at NIH, that there was no need to tell them what
they already knew. It would be tantamount to announcing to a group of
geologists that you had just discovered a way to make diamonds out of
coal. They would all wonder where you've been.

Dick Fischer

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