In this Nature Alert article, we find out that sponges, present as early as 635 million years ago in the fossil record, have 18,000 genes, among which are genes for apoptosis, that is, cell death. Now here is a creature that has “a simple body plan lacking organs, muscles and nerve cells.” Let’s remember that the number of human genes, prior to whole genome analysis, was thought to be at least 100,000. With early genomic results in, this number was revised downward. Today it stands at 25,000—and shrinking! (There are arguments for lowering it still) So the lowly sponge—no nerves, no muscles, simple as you can get—has around 65% the number of genes as humans.
Well, all of this presents problems for Darwinism.
First of all, we have 65% of the gene number of humans in little, old sponges—an organism that appears as far back as 635 million years ago, about as old as you can get [except for bacteria]. This kind of demolishes Darwin’s argument about what he called the pre-Silurian (pre-Cambrian). 635 mya predates both the Cambrian AND the Edicarian, which comes before the Cambrian (i.e., the pre-Cambrian) IOW, out of nowhere, 18,000 animal genes. Darwinian gradualism is dealt a death blow here (unless you’re a ‘true believer”!). Here’s a quote: “It means there was an elaborate machinery in place that already had some function. What I want to know now is what were all these genes doing prior to the advent of sponge.” (Charles Marshall, director of the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley.) I want to know, too!
Secondly, unexpectedly, this “multicellular creature” had an apparatus for ‘individual’ cell death—the cell had a way of bringing about it’s own death—prior to cells having the ability to attack harmful cells outside of themselves. So, somehow, before multicellularity cells decided they should kill themselves [Since apoptosis, i.e., cell death, ‘evolved’ as a defense mechanism, then why didn’t the ability to destroy harmful cells exterior to the cell itself also ‘evolve’ at the same time? IOW, the cells forming the ‘first’ multicellular organism, brought this capacity with them]. Remember that Darwin states that if anything could be found present in an organism that was harmful to it, then this would be a disproof of his theory. Yet cells are capable of ‘suicide’ prior to there being a need for it. It can hardly be argued that a cell’s ability to kill itself is good for it. But I’ll bet there’s a few Darwinists who will want to convince us otherwise.
Finally, just as a FYI, here’s a PhysOrg item about ” . . .evidence [supporting] the hypothesis that human cells have the widespread ability to copy RNA as well as DNA.” This isn’t just copying of non-coding portions of DNA, but actual copying of RNA molecules within the cell. (What was that they were saying about the “Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”?) Taken together with the above observations, all of this points in the direction of cellular RNA being a communication system for various parts of non-coding DNA and cellular proteins (the coded portion of DNA), as well as the likely communication medium between DNA and the environment (we already know that environmental factors can result in RNA which then has inherited effects–briefly mentioned in the news item). It becomes increasingly clearer just how rather fundamental, and relatively insignifcant, proteins are in the big scheme of things.
Let the discussion begin!!