RNA Discoveries Refute Key Evolutionary Argument | The Institute for Creation Research
RNA Discoveries Refute Key Evolutionary Argument

Pseudogenes, or "false genes," were initially thought to be mutated and useless genetic "junk" since they don't code for proteins. When they were first discovered, evolutionists claimed they were leftovers of Darwinian evolution. But ongoing studies clearly show that the evolutionary interpretation was premature and even misleading.

With much more powerful tools for genetic investigation now available, researchers are discovering so many biological uses for pseudogenes that perhaps the majority of them are not false genes at all.1 One recent review even asked, "[Are they] pseudo-functional or key regulators in health and disease?"2

Biologists first assumed that pseudogenes are not translated into proteins because they lack some of the codes that signal such translation. And since pseudogenes were not translated into proteins, they supposedly had no function. Thus, they have "long been labeled as 'junk' DNA, failed copies of genes that arise during the evolution of genomes."2

In a study published in the technical journal RNA, Oxford Brookes University biologists reviewed some of the newly discovered functions for pseudogenes. They wrote, "In some cases, what appears to be a nontranslated pseudogene can, in fact, code for truncated proteins." Also, "evidence that some pseudogenes can exert regulatory effects on their protein coding cousins is mounting."2

They reviewed studies where mutations in pseudogenes contributed to type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. If pseudogenes are not important, then why would their disruption cause disease? The researchers concluded that "the prevalent attitude that they are nonfunctional relics is slowly changing."2

The study authors also wrote, "Pseudogenes are sometimes considered to represent 'neutral sequence,' in which mutations that accumulate are neither selected for or against. However, this premise relies on the assumption that pseudogenes are functionally inert."2 This means that pseudogenes can only be construed as evidence for evolution if they represent "neutral sequence" instead of functional sequence.

But the researchers found that "far from being silent relics, many pseudogenes are transcribed into RNA, some exhibiting a tissue-specific pattern of activation."2 Because they serve to fine-tune gene regulation, they are not available for evolution to "develop" into new genetic material, and therefore they can no longer be considered evidence for evolution.

As more functions for this DNA are discovered, the idea that they are leftovers from some evolutionary past diminishes. The evidence indicates that the vast majority of pseudogenes exists because the cell needs them, not because they evolved.3 The observation that they perform important cellular functions fits well with the creative engineering genius of the God of the Bible.

References

  1. "Pseudogenes" is thus a "pseudo name."
  2. Pink, R. C. et al. 2011. Pseudogenes: Pseudo-functional or key regulators in health and disease? RNA. 17 (5): 792-798.
  3. Pink et al. wrote that whereas there are from 10,000 to 20,000 pseudogenes in the human genome—similar to the number of genes—there are fewer than 100 pseudogenes that look like they are the result of mutation.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on August 23, 2011.

The Latest
NEWS
Greenland Lakebed Fits Flood Narrative
Scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Observatory discovered an enormous ancient lakebed beneath the ice on Greenland.1 Although scientists...

NEWS
Inside December 2020 Acts & Facts
What is ICR’s mission? Why are volunteers vital to our ministry? How do you prepare for creation ministry? What legacy does Dr. Henry M. Morris...

ACTS & FACTS
Perhaps Today!
When I was a young boy, I remember a small, humble plaque that hung on the wall in my grandfather’s ICR office directly opposite his desk. Painted...

APOLOGETICS
December, Winter Weather, and Washington
Wintry-mix weather dominated Christmas night in 1776 as General George Washington and his boat-ferried troops crossed the Delaware River to surprise...

ACTS & FACTS
How Do I Prepare for Creation Ministry?
Many of today’s creation researchers can testify that information from the Institute for Creation Research sparked a burning, lifelong passion...

ACTS & FACTS
Dr. Henry M. Morris III: A Kingdom-Focused Life
Dr. Henry M. Morris III has been at the heart of the Institute for Creation Research’s ministry work for decades, using his gifts as a leader,...

DISCOVERY CENTER
Volunteering God's Creation Truth
“Welcome to the ICR Discovery Center!” Kerry greets the guests with a smile as they walk into the exhibit hall. “Is this your first...

ACTS & FACTS
Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?
Scott Arledge and Brian Thomas, Ph.D. “The odds that we are in base reality is one in billions,” says famed inventor Elon Musk.1...

ACTS & FACTS
Osteostracans Aren't Ancestors
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis...

ACTS & FACTS
The Fossils Still Say No: The Cambrian Explosion
The modern theory of evolution has its roots in Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species, in which he proposed the fundamental conjecture...