One biologist thinks that only DNA is really a code. David Coppedge disagrees. Coppedge: But it seems fair to categorize codes separately if they contain unique information and produce unique results. Even if histones are built from DNA, once they are assembled, they no longer rely on the genetic code.
The basic message is that we can’t improve on all the things that just happen to work by accident in exactly the right way. Yet in just about any area of life other than evolution theory we find a completely different picture. Why is Darwinism allowed to be such a big exception to the general rule?
Klinghoffer: Even if universal common ancestry is true, there seemingly is no drawable “true tree.” As Lukas says, “Those who study homology simply assume evolution to be true, but they’ve never actually demonstrated that the ancestral evolutionary relationships between different organisms are real.”
Unlike anything we know in the real world, all this complex machinery that confounds us just somehow, rather quickly, fell into place.
Remember the people who used to say, of their DNA, “This is me”? Didn’t wear well, that.
Okay, why, until recently, did researchers think that “the majority of our genes were made up of junk DNA, which essentially didn’t do anything”? Because that vast sunken library of dead information (sheer randomness and waste) was a slam dunk for Darwinism, as politically powerful theistic evolutionist Francis Collins was quick to point out in The Language of God. (2007). If that’s not true, an argument for Darwinism is disconfirmed.
They are using the “molecular clock” technique to determine that. One wonders if that technique is not too risky in the absence of a fossil record. But “earlier than thought” has been a good bet in principle. Not so good for the “long, slow process of evolution” stuff though.
One curious find, if it holds up, is that humans were in the Americas much earlier than thought. There should now be renewed interest in finding very early tools and fossils in North America.
At Quanta: “Now, in a paper appearing today in Science Advances, an international team of researchers led by Daniel Rokhsar, a professor of biological sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, has tracked changes in chromosomes that occurred as much as 800 million years ago. They identified 29 big blocks of genes that remained recognizable as they passed into three of the earliest subdivisions of multicellular animal life.” Okay, but all this information exploding such a long time ago… ?
Douglas Fox at SciAm: The salamanders would be on death’s door if they were human. “Everything about having a large genome is costly,” Wake told me in 2020. Yet salamanders have survived for 200 million years. “So there must be some benefit,” he said. The hunt for those benefits has led to some heretical surprises, potentially turning our understanding of evolution on its head.
Standish: Changing codon meaning isn’t merely a tweak. As one of the authors notes, “It’s just mind-boggling that an organism could survive that.” But he is dead wrong when he says, “Stop codon shifts are considerably less ‘dramatic’”. Changing a stop codon seems significantly more challenging than changing any other codon meaning because the mechanism for stop codon recognition is totally different and involves more than RNA-RNA interactions.
Researchers: “A surprisingly wide array of creatures, all the way up to some vertebrates, dump significant stretches of DNA during early development, so the stretches don’t end up in most of their body cells.” [Only in the germ cells they pass on.]
At Quanta: “Genomes hold immense quantities of noncoding DNA. Some of it is essential for life, some seems useless, and some has its own agenda.”
Katherine J. Wu: “Other than primates, the cat-human comparison is one of the closest you can get,” with respect to genome organization, Leslie Lyons, an expert in cat genetics at the University of Missouri, told me. [Hmmm.]
At Axios: Why it matters: The bulk of the human genome is noncoding regions, some of which play an important role in how genes are expressed. New tools are allowing scientists to test exactly how these elements — once called “junk DNA” — work, which could lead to new drug targets.