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Genetics, Evolution and the Junk DNA Conundrum

20 December 2012, 13:43

Genetics and evolution have been at odds from the beginning. Only by ignoring advances in genetics has the fiction of evolution been maintained. Atheists on this forum punt that Genetics and the study of DNA undergird evolution. They also like to suggest that all scientists and biologists, and I’m not talking about the creationist scientists and biologists are all in more or less complete agreement with each other regarding the facts of evolution. Furthermore they love to go on about Peer Review and scientific journals, and that science is not science unless it passes peer review in scientific journals.

So are things so rosy in the naturalist scientific world? By no means! Consider the latest controversy between peer reviewed scientists and scientific journals and peer reviewed staunch evolutionists and other scientific journals who espouse Neo Darwinism around Junk DNA and the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) findings by hundred of scientists, not the creationist kind, in 11 countries and published in 29 articles in the journals Nature and Genome Research.

So what is  Junk DNA? A geneticist, Susumu Ohno, was the first to coin the term “junk” DNA in 1972. Broadly speaking he was referring to large parts of the DNA structure that were non-coding, that is does not contain genes and code for proteins. As an evolutionist, he assumed that non-coding DNA was a genetic fossil that had some purpose in the evolutionary past, and subsequently discarded as we evolved into more complex creatures.

For many years the supposed Junk DNA actually inhibited science as since it was considered non functional as their evolutionary paradigm considered it worthless DNA. Most biology textbooks will tell you that 1 gene = 1 protein. The coding region of DNA, commonly called a gene, is transcribed  into messenger RNA – mRNA – which is read to make a protein which carries out many of the functions of the cell. The regulatory regions determine many aspects of the protein production such as when the protein is made, how much is made, how long it’s made, etc. Many of these regulatory regions had been identified, usually found close the gene, but it was considered that many more regulatory regions had to exist due to the complexity of protein regulation that exists in a cell.

The ENCODE Pilot Project studied 1% of the human genome or approximately 30 million bases spread throughout the genome. Nearly all the DNA under this study was found to be transcribed into RNA. ENCODE discovered some of the functions of the RNA transcripts including the regulation of transcription, replication of DNA, and the structure of chromosomes (which likely plays a role in the regulation of protein production).2 This may help account for the fact that even though we only have 20,000-25,000 genes in our DNA, we produce 100,000-300,000 proteins.

Although there are many scientists who are thrilled by the findings, there is a lot of opposition amongst evolutionists as being inconsistent with their worldview. Junk DNA was assumed to be a wasteland discarded by the evolutionary process.

Consider the following statements by proponents of evolution:

The earth is strewn with fossil remains of extinct species, is it a wonder that our genome too is filled with the remains of extinct genes?6
– Susumu Ohno (coined the term junk DNA).

In summary, then, there is a large amount of evidence which suggests, but does not prove, that much DNA in higher organisms is little better than junk.7
– Leslie Orgel and Francis Crick (co-discoverer of the structure of DNA).

Mammalian genomes are littered with such AREs [type of junk DNA], with roughly 45 percent of the human genomes made up of such genetic flotsam and jetsam.
– Francis Collins (Director of the National Institute of Health and director of the human genome sequencing project)

Leaving pseudogenes aside, it is a remarkable fact that the greater part (95 per cent in the case of humans) of the genome might as well not be there, for all the difference it makes.9
– Richard Dawkins (evolutionary biologist)

Note the inconsistency with one saying 45% and another saying 95%. The findings of ENCODE provide the answer as to why junk DNA is there. A good portion of it may be functional. But will this finding change the mind of evolutionists regarding junk DNA as junk? Probably not because this is not about the evidence, this is about worldviews. If the evidence is contrary, rather than change their worldview, evolutionists will simply attempt to make the evidence fit

So what are the main objections of evolutionists to these findings?

Many state that ENCODE’s definition of “functional” is too broad.
ENCODE defined function as specific biochemical activity. They do not know exactly what that function is as yet, but as it is transcribed into RNA, it could be playing some small paryt in the process. That a computers processor as an example, some switch may be used rarely under certain conditions, but whether it is on or off will play some role in the process, some bit whether 1 or 0 could play a role in the outcome and if damaged will result in a glitch even if it is only that your t may not be crossed on your screen. ENCODES third phase will be studying the function of the supposed Junk DNA when transcribed into RNA.

Many evolutionist say it doesn’t pass the Onion Test, which according to them has 5 times more Junk DNA than Humans who are much more complex. However onions grow in a wide variety of environmental conditions and who is to say that much of this Junk DNA is there to counter these extremes in environment.

Many evolutionists are now starting to claim that they never said all Junk DNA is junk. But what is truly junk. And what if that which is considered truly junk will one day be found to play a critical role in the process of life. After all is that not the progress that science is supposed to make, that new information always modifies existing knowledge with new understanding

No genetics is not the friend of evolution that many have been indoctrinated to think it is. Although science can prove that a particular sequence of DNA has some effect, I seriously doubt that science will ever be able to prove that a particular sequence of DNA has NO effect. Therefore, calling it ‘junk DNA’ was inadvisable in the first place, since that phrase contains an un-falsifiable assertion.

It seems so many scientist over the years have dug themselves in a hole by preaching this useless vestigial junk paradigm to students and to the general public, and now it has come back to bite them in the rear end!

Thus we can see that there is no real consensus among the scientific community about some of the essentials of evolution and biology, especially genetics, which we will get into another time.
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