Cell biology Intelligent Design

Of 70,000 hitherto unknown viruses in the human gut, over 40% of proteins had no clear function

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It’s not at all clear what these phages that infect bacteria even do:

They analyzed more than 28,000 gut microbiome samples taken from 28 countries.

This process revealed complete genomes for more than 140,000 species of viruses living in the human gut. (A single person, however, carries around only a fraction of these species.) Though many types of viruses live in the gut, they focused on viruses that can infect bacteria, called “bacteriophages” or “phages” for short.

The researchers limited their scope to bacteriophages because “we are still figuring out their role in human health,” said lead author Luis Camarillo-Guerrero, a recent PhD graduate from the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the U.K. “It’s probably safe to say that the vast majority of them are not harmful to us and are simply an integral component of our body microbiota.”

Yasemin Saplakoglu, “70,000 never-before-seen viruses found in the human gut” at LiveScience

The paper is open access.

An alert reader spotted this in the paper: “After clustering the whole proteome of GPD into 202,192 protein clusters, we found that top functions corresponded to DNA binding proteins, integrases, methylases, peptidases, and tape measure proteins; however, the majority of phage proteins (47.46%) could not be assigned a function.”

The reader comments that viruses cannot afford to carry around much non-functioning nucleic acid. More likely, the 43% that are mystery proteins do have a function. If even viruses are much more complex than we expect, what chance that all these complex systems arose by natural selection acting on random mutations (Darwinism)?

6 Replies to “Of 70,000 hitherto unknown viruses in the human gut, over 40% of proteins had no clear function

  1. 1
    Querius says:

    But the Darwin fundamentalists are still clinging to “junk DNA”–that everything we don’t understand is automatically labeled random junk in process of evolving into something or devolving from something else.

    The junk paradigm is a science stopper compared with the Intelligent Design paradigm. Think about it.

    -Q

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius – I don’t think anyone is labelling this 40% of proteins with no known function as “junk”, though.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Querius/1

    The junk paradigm is a science stopper compared with the Intelligent Design paradigm. Think about it.

    We have.

    For example, why did your Intelligent Designer create a human genome that suffers a mutation rate that would be catastrophic without all that junk DNA to absorb most of it.

    In fact, why would your Designer be so incompetent as to design a genome that mutates at all?

    And, of course, we have the good old Onion Test

    The onion test is a simple reality check for anyone who thinks they have come up with a universal function for junk DNA. Whatever your proposed function, ask yourself this question: Can I explain why an onion needs about five times more non-coding DNA for this function than a human?

    Trying to find reliable ways of detecting non-human intelligent design could be useful science. Explaining every conundrum in biology by saying that it must be the handiwork of some undefined intelligent designer isn’t.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    For example, why did your Intelligent Designer create a human genome that suffers a mutation rate that would be catastrophic without all that junk DNA to absorb most of it.

    Why do you erect a strawman and think it’s an argument?

    In fact, why would your Designer be so incompetent as to design a genome that mutates at all?

    Variation is the key to survival. It is also an impetus to find out why there is variation.

    The onion test is because of the many layers in the onion. It’s like duplicating segments. To do that you duplicate genomes. Bang, another segment. In this case it’s another layer of the onion.

    But all that is moot. Blind and mindless processes didn’t produce DNA-based organisms.

    Those who propose junk DNA need to explain how blind and mindless processes just happened to produce the active spooling of all the DNA so it can fit inside the nucleus.

  5. 5
    Querius says:

    Seversky @3,

    Have you ever read Susumu Ohno’s 1972 introducing the concept of “junk DNA”? He was a brilliant geneticist with some great ideas about the function of what’s now called “non-coding DNA” including what you’re suggesting plus a way to track evolutionary history, but he suffers under the presupposition that unknown structures must necessarily just be “junk.”

    In contrast, the ID paradigm, while it has no position on the assumed designer, is that unknown structures are likely to have a designed purpose, and far from being junk, we should investigate it further.

    Seriously, you should read Ohno’s paper. It’s only five pages long.
    https://www.junkdna.com/ohno.html

    -Q

  6. 6
    Concealed Citizen says:

    Seversky: why would your Designer be so incompetent as to design a genome that mutates at all?

    Why goes a game designer program self-destruction under certain circumstances into game characters?

    Self-destruction is an intentional part of the system. This ain’t Heaven.

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