Internal Telomere-like Sequences Are Abundant and Functional | The Institute for Creation Research

Internal Telomere-like Sequences Are Abundant and Functional

The prevailing evolutionist mantra holds that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor that lived about six million years ago. One of the most cited evidences for this belief is the alleged human chromosome 2 fusion site. There, evolutionists claim, one can see the degenerate remnants of where two telomeres fused, which they say are leftovers from humans’ evolutionary descent.

Telomeres are specialized DNA sequences found at the ends of chromosomes in plants and animals. They are uniquely designed to make possible the existence of more-complicated forms of cells that have large linear chromosomes—contrasted with single-cell bacteria that have less-complex circular chromosomes.

Scientists were intrigued when the sequencing of the human genome revealed that sections of telomere sequences also exist throughout the internal regions of chromosomes instead of exclusively at the ends.1 At first, it was believed that interstitial telomere sequences (ITSs) were genetic mistakes and served no useful purpose. The famous head-to-head ITS on human chromosome 2 was initially attributed to an accidental fusion of two ancestral ape-like chromosomes. However, this speculation was disproven. It’s now known this particular ITS is in the middle of a highly expressed gene—functionally acting as a second genetic switch called a promoter.2,3 Telomeres are completely void of genes, so it would be impossible for a telomere fusion to provide the proper DNA sequences to produce a functional gene.

Some scientists also thought that ITSs might actually be dangerous to the genome, and researchers tried to associate them with disease, cancer, and chromosome breakage.1 However, more research showed that these anomalies were primarily associated with other sequences that were physically close to the ITSs and had nothing to do with their presence.1

Amazingly, ITSs show strong evidence of design rather than evolutionary accidents. The presence of ITSs within internal regions of chromosomes affects gene expression by changing the conformational (three-dimensional) properties of the DNA.4 As is typical of the evolutionary mindset, scientists presupposed that ITSs were freak accidents of nature and disruptive to the genome rather than looking for purpose and function. Despite this counterproductive approach, they eventually concluded that ITSs have a distinct function within the genome.

Elsewhere, I showed how the ITS at the alleged human chromosome 2 fusion site was clearly a functional element involved with gene expression.2,3 So, is it possible that other ITS regions across the genome are also important gene-regulating features? As a result of this question, I have written software that has identified ITS regions throughout the human genome and then intersected their genomic locations with a wide variety of publically available data sets from the ENCODE (ENCyclopedia Of Dna Elements) project. The ENCODE project provides a diverse array of functional DNA sequence data across the genome and is ideal for determining the function of a particular DNA sequence. My preliminary data indicate that many ITS regions all over the human genome are directly involved with gene expression, including the binding of specialized genetic switch proteins called transcription factors.

This type of research shows that the gene expression properties discovered for the ITS at the alleged human chromosome 2 fusion site are not unique to that location. Instead of pointing to a common ancestor with chimps, the ITS represents a common functional design feature placed in our genome by an all-wise and omnipotent Creator.

References

  1. Lin, K. W. and J. Wan. 2008. Endings in the middle: current knowledge of interstitial telomeric sequences. Mutation Research. 658 (1-2): 95-110.
  2. Tomkins, J. P. 2013. Alleged Human Chromosome 2 “Fusion Site” Encodes an Active DNA Binding Domain Inside a Complex and Highly Expressed Gene—Negating Fusion. Answers Research Journal. 6: 367-375.
  3. Tomkins, J. P. 2015. More DNA Evidence Against Human Chromosome Fusion. Acts & Facts. 44 (8): 10-12.
  4. Revaud, D. et al. 2009. Sequence-driven telomeric chromatin structure. Cell Cycle. 8 (7): 1099-1100.

* Dr. Tomkins is Director of Life Sciences at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in genetics from Clemson University.

Cite this article: Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. 2016. Internal Telomere-like Sequences Are Abundant and Functional. Acts & Facts. 45 (10).

The Latest
NEWS
Remembering Patti Morse
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from...

CREATION PODCAST
What Happened with Washington's Violent Volcano? | The Creation...
How did a 1980 volcanic eruption change our understanding of geology? What impact did this event have on the age assignments of sediments? Join us for...

NEWS
Fossil Insect Predation Shows No Evidence of Evolution
Some recent science news stories have come out describing fossils of insects feeding on plants supposedly many “millions of years ago.” What...

NEWS
Adaptive Genetic and Epigenetic Changes in Plants
Being sedentary organisms, plants are essentially stuck where they are planted and need to dynamically adapt to the conditions around them to not only...

NEWS
Dr. Tim Clarey Awarded Adjunct Professor of the Year
Congratulations to ICR Research Scientist and geologist Dr. Tim Clarey! He received the Adjunct Professor of the Year award from King’s University,...

NEWS
Mars Rover Records Dramatic Solar Eclipse
NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has filmed the Martian satellite (or moon) Phobos eclipsing the sun, and this short but impressive video may be viewed...

CREATION PODCAST
Darwin or Design? CET Pt. 2 | The Creation Podcast: Episode 22
How does design provide a better explanation for biological functions and adaptations than natural selection? And how can engineering principles help...

NEWS
Resurrecting “Ancient” Enzymes?
The most abundant protein on Earth is probably an enzyme (biological catalyst) called RuBisCO (or Rubisco) designed by the Creator to function in photosynthesis.1...

NEWS
Inside May-June 2022 Acts & Facts
How can Christians stand up to scientific elitism? What does the plant fossil record in Iceland tell us about the global Flood? Does a new bacterium...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Grand Canyon
by Christy Hardy and Susan Windsor* You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation...