De novo genes are genes that are present in a particular species or taxonomic group, and not present in any others. Why are they there and where did they come from? To answer these questions we have to first deal with some important assumptions of evolutionary biology.
Sometimes called “orphan genes” because they have no parents we can identify.
Because the field of research is still developing, different research groups use different criteria for deciding what counts as a TRG. For example, one recent estimate says that there are 634 genes that appear to have arisen de novo in the human genome, as compared with the chimpanzee and macaque genomes.
Many readers of pop science news will be surprised to hear this. Isn’t the genome supposed to be 98% chimpanzee and 99% junk? Gotta hand it to pop science news, they can take a remarkable origins story and turn it into 100% fishwrap. How do these genes originate?
Evolutionists say, “Look, these orphan genes arose de novo. We can see how they might have been spliced together from similar DNA present elsewhere in the genome, or they might have come from non-coding DNA that has acquired a promoter or transcription factor binding site, and so is now expressed, and makes a functional protein, in the right place and at the right time.” More.
Not that anyone who has tried it has ever made it work. Currently, the money goes to inventive but trivial explanations.
See also: Human origins: The war of trivial explanations
There’s a gene for that… or is there?
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