Properly Darwinian genes would have done what Ohno told them a long time ago but not these ones:
For the half past century or more, most biologists agreed with the conclusions of the geneticist Susumu Ohno in his influential 1970 book Evolution by Gene Duplication. While acknowledging that the first genes had to come from somewhere, he wrote: “Yet, in a strict sense, nothing in evolution is created de novo. Each new gene must have arisen from an existing gene…”
This explanation seemed sound because truly de novo genes would have to emerge through evolution acting on the abundant “nongenic” DNA (often dismissed as junk) between genes. It was hard to imagine how that could happen. Cells’ fitness generally depends on the smooth functioning of networks of genes that have coevolved to work together over millions of years. Genes derived from other genes have a better chance of blending into those networks. In comparison, the fairly random transcripts from nascent de novo genes seem as though they should be, at best, inconsequential —-and more likely harmful to cells’ prospects. “The received wisdom is that random sequences are more likely to mess things up than to make them better,” said Aoife McLysaght, a geneticist at Trinity College Dublin.
But in the past 15 years, evidence for de novo genes has steadily accumulated, so much so that the debate has shifted from whether de novo genes exist to how much they contribute to evolution and adaptation.Vivian Callier, “ Where Do New Genes Come From?” at Quanta
Hey, wasn’t this the alternative reading at Mass for, you know, Genesis 1, where God speaks and all kinds of life forms pop out of nothing? Hmmm. Give it time.