The “fact” of Darwinian evolution finally has some support, or so they say at ScienceDaily
This is a significant study, but what did they actually find? Darwinian Evolution can break complex productive genetic networks resulting in “morphological degeneration”.
“change recorded in both the fossil record and the genomes of living organisms … shows simultaneous molecular decay of the gene that is involved in enamel formation in mammals.”
Mammals exist without mineralized teeth (e.g., baleen whales, anteaters, pangolins) and with teeth that lack enamel (e.g., sloths, aardvarks, and pygmy sperm whales).
“Mammals without enamel are descended from ancestral forms that had teeth with enamel,” Mark Springer of UC said. “We predicted that enamel-specific genes such as enamelin would show evidence in living organisms of molecular decay because these genes are vestigial and no longer necessary for survival.”
They found mutations in the enamelin gene that disrupt how the enamelin protein is coded, resulting in obliteration of the genetic blueprint for the enamelin protein.
Darwin argued that all organisms are descended from one or a few organisms and that natural selection drives evolutionary change. The fossil record demonstrates that the first mammals had teeth with enamel. Mammals without enamel therefore must have descended from mammals with enamel-covered teeth.
Previous studies in evolutionary biology have provided only limited evidence linking morphological degeneration in the fossil record to molecular decay in the genome.
“The molecular counterpart to vestigial organs is pseudogenes that are descended from formerly functional genes,” Springer explained. “In our research we clearly see the parallel evolution of enamel loss in the fossil record and the molecular decay of the enamelin gene into a pseudogene in representatives of four different orders of mammals that have lost enamel.”