Mankind evolution 'spongy'

2010-08-06 11:20

Sydney - Mankind may be descended from apes but Australian scientists have found proof of links much closer to the sea floor, with a study revealing that sea sponges share almost 70% of human genes.

Genetic sequencing of sea sponges from the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef showed the ancient marine animal shared many of its genes with humans, including a large number typically associated with disease and cancer.

Lead researcher Bernard Degnan, of the University of Queensland, said the findings "would shed light on a whole range of different things", and could lay the foundation for breakthroughs in cancer and stem cell research.

"Sponges have what's (considered) the 'Holy Grail' of stem cells," said Degnan.

Exploring the genetic function of sponge stem cells could provide "deep and important connections" to the genes that influenced human stem cell biology, he said.

"(It) might actually inform the way we think about our own stem cells and how we might be able to use them in future medical applications," he said.

The study - published in the journal Nature this week - is the result of more than five years of research by an international team of scientists.

It required the extraction of "really pure DNA" from sponge embryos and a complex sequencing exercise, Degnan said.

  • Gerry - 2010-08-06 12:19

    Always wondered why I have a soft spot.

  • Winston - 2010-08-06 13:03

    Now is this what one calls Scientific Research. Not the shoddy work done to prove that prayer actually has healing effects...

  • ian parsons - 2010-08-06 13:08

    The first line of the article perpetuates the myth that humans descended from apes. According to evolutionary theory, humans share common ancestors with apes - as we do with all other living things. Evolution does not claim that we are descended from apes.

  • Kevin - 2010-08-06 13:42

    is it just me or is science getting lamer and lamer

  • Mark - 2010-08-06 15:05

    Just a little admonishment to think a bit further on various subtle insinuations - A designer would have used common "components" across all living things, just like every make of car has wheels, an engine, windows, windscreen, suspension. Why re-invent the wheel? So too would every living organism as it was all made by same creator. 70% similarity means precious little, especially when just one different component out of billions can give rise to grave, life threatening defects (and here we are talking about 30% difference !). Comparative latest studies issue a revised figure saying man has 95% DNA similarity to chimps, that's 5 million (or billion) differences. There is no descendence here at all, but completely uniquely created lifeforms. Have you though of strange conundrums that potatoes, pineapples or other plants have MORE chromosomes than humans ?! That certainly does NOT make them more "evolved" or advanced than humans. The association of % similarity or chromosome count is absolutely meaningless and should not be used as a bait-and-switch argument for evolution. Just the same as saying the variation within dogs prove that evolution is possible (that is micro evolution within species), and then start talking about macro slime to mankind evolution which has never been observed, cannot be proven, and which 99% science proves is impossible. Micro evolution shows a LOSS of genetic information, whereas macro evolution requires a GAIN in genetic information, and the theory of evolution is dead-in-the-water if it cannot show a gain has occurred. A gain has never been found or demonstrated. Evolution is dull thinking. Let’s not be dull.

  • So now - 2010-08-06 15:18

    We are looking for some other pipe dream to believe in. How old will earth then be? Billion Sponge years? Honestly can you not spend the research money and time on something more constructive such as a cure for cancer or Aids. Waste of time. Who actually was there when this so called findings was done, I was not so why should I believe it? So science is becoming a religion with no commons sense as its god

  • wayne redelinghuys - 2010-08-06 15:36

    Does this mean we have all evolved from Spongebob Squarepants?

  • Sponge Bob Square Pants - 2010-08-06 15:50

    Hello brothers and sisters.

  • LAM - 2010-08-06 17:17

    Common Designer - Common Design

  • nd - 2010-08-06 22:48

    Fascinating. We also share about 50% of our genes with a carrot and around 30% with a banana! (including some of our politicians) This must be really disturbing news for evolution denialists...

  • nd - 2010-08-07 13:27

    @So now: your 2 issues: We know how the earth is: all the isotope methods availabe to us (37 in total)indicate that the earth is around 4.6 billion yrs old. Your second issue: So you want the money to be used to increase our numbers? We are already the most successful invader species ever, and gaining speed, pushing out other species as we go along. Not happy enough?

  • JCK - 2010-08-07 13:54

    @mark: you have been getting your scientific facts from the Watchtower and other creationists that fondly tell (each other)these stories. Try some real sources. Begin with "Almost like a whale" (Steve Jones), "The greatest show on earth" (R Dawkons) or take a quick look at Wikipedia (search for evidence of common descent). Enjoy the eye opening ride!

  • Kotie - 2010-08-08 08:38

    As Mark said. . . Let's not be dull... You really want to believe your ancestors was chimp, apes or what else... We have been placed here by a Creator. If evolution was real... why are we (humans) the only intelligent beings? If never seen any other animal building a car, assembling a PC, etc. .... Don't be dull...

  • Herman - 2010-08-10 11:19

    Evolutionary biology have never contended that humans have apes as ancestors! The premise is that humans and apes have a common ancestor, many millions of years ago.

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