Roundworm DNA System Plans Ahead | The Institute for Creation Research

Roundworm DNA System Plans Ahead

Intriguing studies demonstrate that many different animals have the ability to transmit information about their environment to their offspring, sometimes using a process called epigenetics. Most often, the genetic memory of a parent or grandparent’s environmental experience travels no farther than a half dozen generations. Recently, researchers accidentally discovered the farthest-reaching epigenetic signal ever known.1

When using epigenetics, creatures transmit environmental data not through genes, but by patterns of other molecules that clamp onto DNA strands and help regulate the timing and intensity of gene activities.

Scientists from Barcelona and Badalona in Spain published their stunning finds in Science.1 They saw roundworms transmit outside temperature indicators to as many as 14 generations of offspring. Then, the team speculated on what processes make this remarkable data transfer happen and on its possible purpose.

The investigators had artificially inserted foreign genetic material called transgenes into the roundworm genome. Then the transgenes became part of normally inherited DNA. These particular transgenes code for proteins the researchers can easily track.

The study results showed that some roundworm’s cells accessed the transgenes more often than others because their ancestors had lived their lives in a lower temperature environment. DNA—including transgenes—gets wrapped around protein spools inside cells. Specific tags get attached to the spools. Roundworms that had lived in colder temperatures possessed more of those tags. The tags impede the docking procedures of gene processing machinery, which limits access to the transgenes.

It’s like a parent who tags a closed folder with a sign saying, “Do not open for several generations,” because they strongly suspect that their descendants won’t need the folder’s contents. But in the case of roundworms, the DNA folder remained sealed for over a dozen generations. The tagging pattern transfers temperature memory through eggs to the next generation, and the next, etc. But why?

Lead author of the Science study explained, “We don’t know exactly why this happens, but it might be a form of biological forward-planning.”2 Well, why else would any communication system send a message like this if not for a predetermined purpose?

If a mother’s body can automatically warn her great, great, great, great grandchildren of what temperature range she endured during her life (and thus what they might also have to endure) then their bodies can prepare themselves to better fit that temperature.

However, forward planning implies design. Natural processes that supposedly underlie evolution cannot imagine future possibilities, but a personal Creator can. And a Creator who revealed that He made creatures to “be fruitful and multiply” would plan. Not only would He imagine future possibilities, He could and would ensure that His creations had the best mechanisms to cope with them.3

References

  1. Klosin, A., et al. 2017. Transgenerational transmission of environmental information in C. elegans. Science. 356 (6335): 320-323.
  2. Environmental ‘memories’ passed on for 14 generations. Centre for Genomic Regulation Press Release. Posted on crg.eu April 20, 2017, accessed April 21, 2017.
  3. Genesis 1:22.

Image: Caenorhabditis elegans

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

Article posted on May 15, 2017.

The Latest
NEWS
How Algae Do Fine When Tossed at Sea
How would you do if someone spun you around every few seconds all day long? Marine algae repeatedly get tossed about in coastal surf, and they cope quite...

NEWS
Butterfly Wing Design Repudiates Evolution
The takeoff and flight of butterflies has long been derided by evolutionists as being an unstable and inefficient product of evolution. However, a new...

NEWS
Reconciling Two Different Calculations of the Hubble Constant
An interesting article1 on physics.org caught my attention. Its title is “Solved: The Mystery of the Expansion of the Universe.”...

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Institute for Creation Research Awarded Highest Rating from Charity...
DALLAS, February 11, 2021–The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) recently earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator—America’s...

NEWS
Reminder: Saturn’s Moon Titan Really Looks Young
Scientists led by Valerio Poggiali of Cornell University’s Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science have used Cassini spacecraft data to learn...

NEWS
Is Newfound Dinosaur Fossil the Biggest Ever?
Whether dealing with athletes, sports teams, skyscrapers, or animals, we always want to know who or what takes the top spot. Researchers just published...

NEWS
Inside February 2021 Acts & Facts
What is the mission of the Institute for Creation Research? What legacy did Dr. Henry M. Morris III leave behind? How will our Ice Age model impact...

ACTS & FACTS
Creation Kids: Jupiter
You’re never too young to be a creation scientist! Kids, discover fun facts about God’s creation with ICR’s special Creation Kids learning...

ACTS & FACTS
Planting, Watering, and God's Increase
During construction of the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History, I spent a lot of time working with various crews of artists and craftsmen....

APOLOGETICS
Buried Secrets Can Be Worth Uncovering
Buried secrets sometimes surface, revealing hidden things. However, if no one is willing to do some diligent digging, much of what is concealed will...