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Darwinism Seen in Action!

An example of Darwinian evolution in action was reported by EurekAlert.  This dramatic announcement called it a “rare example” of a “controversial theory of genetic conflict” in the reproduction of certain fish: The conflict has been likened to a “battle of the sexes” or an “arms race” at the molecular level between mothers and fathers.  […]

Keep the Stem Cell News Straight

Stem cell technology continues to make news, but the phrase “stem cells” alone can mask serious ethical issues.  Adult stem cells (AS) and embryonic stem cells (ES) are both being investigated for their ability to transform into any cell type in the body.  Both are advertised as promising dramatic cures for debilitating diseases, with their […]

Cool Cell Tricks

Some cell parts act like acrobats, some like rescue workers, and some like I.T. professionals.  Here are some recent stories about the tricks that living cells perform each day. Precision formation flying:  The Scientist expressed amazement at the precision of key factors in development of the body plan in fruit flies.  The levels of expression […]

What Are Human Genes Doing in a Sea Anemone?

The genome of a sea anemone has been published, and of all things, this lowly animal has genes common to vertebrates, even humans.  Science Daily began with a conundrum, “The first analysis of the genome of the sea anemone shows it to be nearly as complex as the human genome, providing major insights into the […]

The Chimp-Human 1% Difference: A Useful Lie

Jon Cohen made a remarkable admission in Science this week.1  The popular notion that humans and chimpanzees are genetically 99% similar is a myth, and should be discarded.  Since 1975, textbooks, the media and museums have emphasized this close similarity; but now, Cohen quoted a number of scientists who say the number cannot possibly be […]

Crisis at Both Ends of Darwin’s Tree

Two assumptions about evolution – one about the earliest multicellular organisms and one about the rise of mammals – have run into trouble.  Eukarya sans Mechanista:  “In the absence of direct evidence, science should proceed cautiously with conjecture,” wisely advised Anthony Poole and David Penny in Nature.1  They scorned the researchers who glibly invent fables […]

Genome Complexity Unveiled: No Junk, Only Function

Any remaining doubts that the idea of “junk DNA” has itself been junked should vanish under the latest findings about genome complexity.  A number of recent news stories have revealed astonishing levels of regulation and organization in the non-coding regions of DNA.  It turns out that genes are not the only interesting things in the […]

Origin of Multicellularity: Back to the Drawing Board

Micro-RNAs have been found in green algae.  So?  What’s the big deal?  If you read the statements in Nature,1 it sounds like evolutionary biologists consider it a big, bad deal: The discovery, made independently by two labs, dismantles the popular theory that the regulatory role of microRNAs in gene expression is tied to the evolution […]

New Theory for Introns: Mutation Sponges

When you don’t know where damage will occur, it makes sense to spread the assets around.  Scientists from City of Hope Medical Center (a cancer care and research institute) have a new idea about introns, those regions of DNA “junk“ between the more interesting exons (parts of genes).  Perhaps the introns are mutation sponges.   […]

New Genes Don’t Fit Mr. Darwin

If evolutionists predicted the wealth of new data from genetics was going to fall nicely into an evolutionary picture of Darwin’s tree of life, nature has foiled them again.  Ancestral patterns are blurred by unexpected findings, such as the following: Little giants:  Small, simple.  Large, complex.  That’s the old high-school picture of genetic evolution, but […]

Human Adaptation Can Be Rapid

How long does it take for humans to adapt to environmental changes?  Some recent papers investigated this question. Paleface:  If it is assumed that humans started out medium or dark-skinned, how long did it take for Europeans to lose much of that original pigment?  An article in Science April 20 says maybe just 6,000 to […]

More “Candy” Found in Junk DNA

Powerful regulators that play a crucial role – this is how non-coding sections of DNA are now being described.  A story in Science Daily says that these regions of “junk DNA” once dismissed as “gene deserts” actually orchestrate the expression of genes during development.     In a related paper in PNAS,1 researchers found regulatory […]

Mutation Rate Catastrophe: You Can’t Even Break Even

In a tortoise-and-hare kind of story, a team of geneticists figured out what happens when positive natural selection tries to outrun mutations: “mutation rate catastrophe.”  Publishing in PNAS,1 they described how beneficial mutations might become established in a population rapidly (that’s the hare).  Eventually (this is the tortoise), harmful mutations accumulate to the tipping point, […]

Evolution to the Rescue for Abused Ape

The UK Guardian reports that Austrian courts are being asked to grant human status to an ape to allow it to sue a company for importing it into Austria for medical research.  In 1999, New Zealand granted “non-human hominid” status to apes to protect them from maltreatment, but this case attempts to give full human […]

Have Scientists Found the Secret of Aging?

There’s a tragic disease that speeds up aging.  Known as progeria (Huntington-Gilford progeria syndrome, HGPS), it is caused by a single point mutation in exon 11 of the NMLA gene.  Children afflicted with this disease look old beyond their years and often die at 13 of heart attack and stroke – essentially, of old age. […]
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