Re: Who Was Adam

From: Pim van Meurs <>
Date: Sat Oct 08 2005 - 17:07:41 EDT

janice matchett wrote:

> Opponents of the idea that humans are intelligently designed often
> point to the presence of "junk" (non-coding) DNA in the genomes of
> both apes and humans. Chapter 14 examines the most recent evidence
> that shows that non-coding DNA is certainly not junk, but provides
> vital regulatory functions for coding genes.
Some problems with this statement. First of all the concept of Junk DNA,
secondly Junk DNA has little to say about 'intelligent design', rather
it shows that intelligent design lacks scientific relevance while
evolutionary theory easily accomodates the presence of pseudo-genes (one
of the many forms of Junk DNA).

The idea that non-coding DNA is certainly not junk is not very original
since evolutionary theory and scientists involved in said theories, have
always realized that non-coding DNA may still have 'function'. Hence the
use of the term Junk-DNA may be confusing and a better term is 'non
coding DNA' to describe DNA which do not code for proteins.

Indeed, some of this non-Coding DNA has found to still serve a
regulatory function, others indicate retroviral insertions and then
there are pseudo-genes, which refer to once functional genes which
through mutation(s) became lost their original functional. Now, not
surprisingly, science has found that pseudogenes themselves may still
have acquired new functions. That's a whole new can of worms :-)

A recent 2005 paper in Trends in Genetics Volume 21, Issue 10, October
2005, Pages 533-536 The evolution of noncoding DNA: How much junk, how
much function? by Castillo-Davis, C.I.
sheds more light on these issues


Comparative sequence analysis on a genomic scale has opened the door for
the systematic analysis of cis-acting regulatory DNA. It is now possible
to begin to answer basic questions such as, how much meaningful
noncoding sequence is in the genome? How strong is natural selection on
functional noncoding sequences in different species? Two recent articles
have capitalized on the comparative genomic approach in an attempt to
answer these questions with surprising results.
The paper discusses two new studies

<quote>Two new studies have cleverly sidestepped these difficult
problems by using available genome sequences of several closely related
species and evolutionary theory to acquire estimates of the amount of
functional regulatory DNA in noncoding sequences. What is exciting about
these studies is that they demonstrate that functional noncoding DNA can
be revealed without experimental intervention, relying instead on the
fact that evolution has already carried out the requisite mutagenesis
experiments – and under different natural conditions. Moreover, the
results of these studies suggest how future experimental analyses can be
improved, moving us towards a better understanding of transcriptional
regulation. After an outline of some of the methods and major results of
each article, I will discuss the conclusions of each in the context of
future comparative evolutionary genomic experiments, and some exciting
discoveries that might lie in the near future.</quote>

and conclude

The comparative evolutionary approach epitomized by the work of
Keightley /et al./ and Chin /et al./ demonstrates the potential of
computational studies to reveal large-scale patterns of /cis/-regulatory
architecture. In yeast, species with compact genomes, not, vert,
similar30% of upstream sequences are likely to be functional in gene
regulation. In mammals, species with much larger genomes, it appears
that functional elements are more diffuse than in yeast but are
clustered mostly within 2-kb surrounding protein-coding sequences. These
observations help to paint a general picture of noncoding conservation
and structure in the genome and are likely to be extremely helpful in
focusing future detailed investigations. In addition, the dramatic
difference in functional constraints between murids and hominids
discovered by Keightley /et al./ highlights the importance of population
genetic parameters in understanding both the noncoding sequence change
and the dynamics of /cis/-regulatory evolution. The future incorporation
of demographic, genealogical and phylogenetic information into
increasingly sophisticated models of noncoding sequence change promises
to bring with it a plethora of exciting biological discoveries. With
luck, they will continue to help us better distinguish the /junk/ from
the truly /func/ (functional).


The two papers?

Evidence for Widespread Degradation of Gene Control Regions in Hominid
Peter D. Keightley, Martin J. Lercher, Adam Eyre-Walker


Genome-wide regulatory complexity in yeast promoters: Separation of
functionally conserved and neutral sequence Chen-Shan Chin, Jeffrey H.
Chuang and Hao Li Genome Research 15:205-213, 2005

Journal of Biological Education
Volume 39, Issue 2, March 2005, Pages 76-80
Visualising 'junk' DNA through bioinformatics
Elwess, N.LLatourelle, S.M.Cauthorn, O.

<quote>One of the hottest areas of science today is the field in which
biology, information technology, and computer science are merged into a
single discipline called bioinformatics. This field enables the
discovery and analysis of biological data, including nucleotide and
amino acid sequences that are easily accessed through the use of
computers. As educators it is important to provide new challenges for
students that incorporate the advancements in the areas of molecular
biology, the human genome project, and computer technology. This
learning experience, using bioinformatics, targets advanced high school
and college-level students. The activity allows students an opportunity
to visualise the amount of non-coding regions existing within a DNA

Hope this helps understand the scientific issues involved in human
evolution, the concept of "Junk DNA" and science. This is a fast moving
part of science and quite exciting from an evolutionary perspective.

For another excellent overview of human evolution I suggest the FAQs of
the Talkorigins website

As far as the chromosome Y data and the mitochondrial data, "All these
data confirm a recent origin date for Homo sapiens sapiens." needs
significant qualifications

Mitochondrial DNA data

Mitochondrial Eve:

and Y-Chromosome Adam

In general, I suggest primary resources for these issues.

I have not read the book but the description already suggests the either
or fallacy

"Did humans emerge through evolutionary processes from an ape-like
ancestor, or are we God’s creation? Scientists, Fazale Rana and Hugh
Ross, introduce a testable scientific model for humanity’s origin – a
biblical model – that sheds light on the latest findings on evolution
and the origins of man."

If so formulated then we are not God's creation but that presumes that
there is a logical foundation for the above either/or fallacy. Why do
people insist on rejecting God based on such flawed logic?

So what is the scientific model of creation, please help us by reminding us?
Received on Sat Oct 8 17:10:31 2005

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