RE: pseudogenes and design

Date: Tue May 13 2003 - 22:15:34 EDT

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    Josh wrote:
    >[...] I wrote in my original statement, that of course for the
    >adamant evolutionist, this data is just as expected as if we find
    >that there is no function for a pseudogene, thus the plasticity
    >and adaptability or evolvability of evolutionary theory. [...]

    Mountain out of a non-existent molehill...
    Data is data. If one finds a function for a pseudogene, one finds a
    function for a pseudogene. Whether any particular pseudogene has a
    function or not has little impact on evolutionary theory (unless
    one is trying to unravel the particular history of a particular

    The reason why most pseudogenes are thought to be without much
    immediate function is because of empirical evidence. They don't
    produce active proteins. Many aren't even transcribed. Different
    lineages can have deletions of pseudogenes with no apparent effect.
    It wasn't "evolutionists" per se that discovered pseudogenes or
    determined that many were highly mutable and dispensable. It wasn't
    "evolutionary" dogma that lead to the demonstration of mechanisms by
    which pseudogenes (such as the processed ones) arise. And it wasn't
    "evolutionist" per se but classic geneticists that created
    pseudogenes (knockout mutants) in the lab as part of their research.

    As for the "adamant evolutionist" who finds the data just as
    expected if no pseudogenes have a function: What a load of bunk! If
    no pseudogene had any function in some cell somewhere, I'd be
    extremely surprised. Now why is that?

    Pseudogenes are one of the genomic components from which functional
    genes are thought to arise. It's known that many are actually
    transcribed into mRNA. Some sequences retain binding sites for
    transcriptional modulators. So why shouldn't a pseudogene have
    acquired some function or retained some of the regulatory interactions
    it once had as a full-length gene? Few regulatory functions require
    an intact or full-length sequence. Since the time they were discovered
    and their large numbers first described, researchers have wondered what
    role pseudogenes might have in the cell and in evolution.

    Heck, we've even created artificial pseudogenes with functionality
    and employ them as handy (and not so handy) tools in research today
    -- i.e. in siRNA gene silencing.

    Tim (to despam remove second hormel)

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