Intelligent Design

The Face of a Frog: Time-Lapse Video Reveals Never-Before-Seen Bioelectric Pattern

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Jonathan Wells has already drawn our attention to a recent paper by Vandenberg et al. in the journal Developmental Dynamics. The authors make the startling and innovative discovery that bioelectrical signals are essential for the proper formation of the head and face in frog embryos. Physorg.com reports,

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14 Replies to “The Face of a Frog: Time-Lapse Video Reveals Never-Before-Seen Bioelectric Pattern

  1. 1

    Wait a minute . . .

    On recent threads we’ve been discussing junk DNA. And in the context of that discussion I stated that there are many thousands of steps that have to be undertaken, including coordinated signals and feedback, to even construct an organism (in addition to the ongoing maintenance throughout the life of the organism). I was derided by some of our materialist friends who disputed whether that was really true and who suggested that there is some kind of propensity, or law, or emergent property, or something or other (it was all very vague) that might account for organismal form and that we mustn’t assume controlled programming is needed.

    Now you’re telling me that there is a signalling and processing system in place in order to form a face? It doesn’t just happen by chance? It doesn’ just occur as a natural outgrowth of chemistry?

    Whoda thunk?

    ———–

    Let’s be very clear, folks. We are barely scratching the surface on both the amount and kind of programming required for life. Anyone who thinks this stuff just happens, or is a natural outgrowth of physical and chemical laws, or isn’t really that detailed and complicated, or doesn’t require massive amounts of sophisticated programming, or we know pretty much what DNA does and everything else is junk, has no idea what they are talking about.

  2. 2
    dmullenix says:

    Has anybody here ever heard of “evo-devo”? That’s the study of embryonic development. It’s been known for years that development is guided in large part by chemical gradients. Typically, a chemical will be secreted in one place and diffuse through the embryo and developing cells will move towards the source of the chemical, following the gradient.

    It looks to me like all that has happened is that we now know that the chemical gradients also cause changes in the electrical charges in the cells, which is hardly earth-shaking news.

    The researchers in the second video support this. They aren’t talking about any breathtaking new discovery, they say things like:

    “What we’re able to do now that was never possible before is combine molecular biology with understandings of the electro-physiology thats going on so that we can really control it at the genetic level.”

    Does anybody know how the electric fields got into the developing face of the frog?

    Where was the information stored before it was copied into the face of the developing frog? I’ll bet you a nickle it was in either the embryo’s DNA or the mother’s. And if it’s in the embryo’s DNA, it will be in the mother’s when the embryo grows up to be a mother.

    How is the information transferred to the next generation? I’ll bet a second nickel, a nice shiny one, that it’s transferred in the DNA.

    I don’t see anything here to downgrade DNA in embryological development, regardless of what Jonathan Wells may believe to the contrary.

  3. 3
    Joe says:

    Yes “evo-devo” is the latest failure of evolutionary biology.

    BTW if the information was in the DNA then we should be able to take frog DNA put it in an embryo of a fish and have a frog develop. But that ain’t what happens.

    IOW only a fool think the information that determines development is in the DNA.

    And here you are…

  4. 4

    dmullenix:

    Where was the information stored before it was copied into the face of the developing frog? I’ll bet you a nickle it was in either the embryo’s DNA or the mother’s. And if it’s in the embryo’s DNA, it will be in the mother’s when the embryo grows up to be a mother.

    How is the information transferred to the next generation? I’ll bet a second nickel, a nice shiny one, that it’s transferred in the DNA.

    I don’t see anything here to downgrade DNA in embryological development, regardless of what Jonathan Wells may believe to the contrary.

    You’re saying that Jonathan Wells thinks the relevant information is not in the DNA and that DNA should be downgraded? Wells recently authored a book about junk DNA arguing that DNA contains more information and performs more functions than the Darwinists let on. Sounds like you are agreeing with Wells, which is great.

  5. 5
    dmullenix says:

    Jonathan Wells’ post on Evolution News is titled, “Not in the Genes: Embryonic Electric Fields”, where he says, “Although DNA is involved in specifying the amino acid sequences of proteins, other sources of information are needed to specify the three-dimensional structure of the embryo.”

    He also says in that article, “Although genetic program advocates might argue that such endogenous electric fields are fully specified by information in DNA, I would argue that they are not.” Then he cites work on single celled organisms as evidence. Duh.

    He’s been saying that DNA doesn’t control embryonic development since around the time of “Icons of Evolution”. (Not in that book, but about that time.)

    He’s a tiny bit right in that development starts with a chemical gradient that is established in the egg, but nothing in the egg generated the 3D electrical patterns shown in the frog video. The eggs themselves, with their initial chemical gradient, are manufactured by the mother under the direction of her DNA. This DNA is passed down to the offspring in the egg.

    This is all pretty standard embryology.

  6. 6
    dmullenix says:

    Joe, I notice that clicking on your name takes me to http://intelligentreasoning.blogspot.com/ That blog belongs to JoeG, who was kicked off this site a few weeks ago for consistent unprovoked rudeness. Is he a friend of yours?

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Obviously you are mistaken as here I am.

    But please provide evidence of this alleged “unprovoked rudeness”, I need a laugh today.

  8. 8
    Joe says:

    There isn’t anything that sez an organism is a sum of its genome. If it were then we should be able to take frog DNA, put it in a fish embryo and get a frog. But we do not. Either a fish will develop or nothing will.

  9. 9

    dmullenix, fair point, my bad. I responded to your comment hastily without looking back at the linked article, so I was thinking of a separate issue (the junk DNA issue we’ve been discussing on another thread).

    I understand your suggestion about the information for the frog’s face being contained in the DNA, and coincidentally, I have been thinking a lot lately about whether there is any information in an organism that isn’t ultimately traceable back to the DNA.

    We know that DNA left in a soup of building blocks won’t itself produce an organism. It needs the cellular systems to function. So the question becomes whether those cellular systems themselves are attributable to DNA. If so, one could argue that the system just needs a kick start — by having both the cellular systems and the DNA to start with — but once in place, the DNA is able to control the whole process and result in replication of the organism generation after generation. Yet, there may be reason to think this is not necessarily the case.

    Consider a single-celled organism that reproduces by replicating its cellular structures (including DNA) and dividing itself. Does the DNA contain all the information for building the cellular structures, or are they built with non-DNA instructions (either due to genetic material inside the cell that is outside of DNA, or based in part on the structure of the cell itself)?

    In the case of us, is there anything in the mother’s egg (but not in the DNA) that carries through all the way to the next generation? Presumably mitochondrial DNA at least? What about other structures or information?

    We know that in terms of building an organism there is a chicken-and-egg problem of needing DNA to build certain cellular components, but needing those components to store, access, read, translate the DNA. Is there a similar chicken-and-egg problem in terms of the information itself that is used to construct an organism? Sounds like Wells thinks in some cases there is information contained in the cell that doesn’t come from DNA, but it seems like an open question to me at this stage, and I’d have to look at his reasoning in more detail before I could form an opinion on whether all the information is ultimately traceable back to DNA.

    Definitely a very interesting topic meriting further study.

  10. 10
    dmullenix says:

    The last two lines of 2.1 above.

  11. 11
    dmullenix says:

    Exactly Wells’ point. Of course, there’s more to an egg than DNA. DNA needs materials to work with, both simple common molecules like amino acids that are probably in every egg and also more complicated molecules that are only found in eggs from the same species as the DNA. If those molecules aren’t there, the DNA can’t do its job and the egg dies. And molecules that are only used by a developing frog are unlikely to be found in an egg laid by a fish.

    And both eggs, frog and fish, are manufactured by the mothers, under the control of the mother’s DNA – which also gets copied and put into the egg.

    Generally, you can successfully swap DNA from one egg into an egg from a closely related species which is likely to have the same chemicals in its eggs. Hmmm, that’s just what evolution would predict, isn’t it?

  12. 12
    dmullenix says:

    “We know that DNA left in a soup of building blocks won’t itself produce an organism. It needs the cellular systems to function. So the question becomes whether those cellular systems themselves are attributable to DNA.”

    Eggs containing those cellular systems are built by the mother under the control of her DNA, so they are.

    “Does the DNA contain all the information for building the cellular structures, or are they built with non-DNA instructions (either due to genetic material inside the cell that is outside of DNA, or based in part on the structure of the cell itself)?”

    At least some things appear to be built without the direct participation of DNA. Most cell walls have a very thin inner membrane and a much thicker outer membrane. If you’re very very careful, you can use enzymes to dissolve the outer cell wall while leaving the inner membrane intact. If you do this and then really coddle the resulting “naked” cells, the cells will continue to grow and divide, but they will never re-grow the outer cell wall.

    Since the naked cells retain all of their DNA, but the cell walls don’t regrow, the DNA must not be responsible for building them. But that’s a far cry from what Wells claims.

  13. 13
    Joe says:

    Evolutioon doesn’t predict anything beyond change or stasis.

    And what is the evidence that eggs are munufactured under the control of DNA?

    Methinks you are spewing more nonsense.

  14. 14
    Joe says:

    Eggs containing those cellular systems are built by the mother under the control of her DNA, so they are.

    Reference please.

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