Humans Are Devolving
“We are all mutants,” proclaimed a headline on Science Daily. “First Direct Whole-Genome Measure of Human Mutation Predicts 60 New Mutations in Each of Us.” The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute press release reported 60 new mutations per individual, received from parents – a “striking value” the article characterized the “unexpected findings”. The genomes of children from two families were inspected in this first-ever test of generational mutation. “This fascinating result had not been anticipated, and it raises as many questions as it answers,” the article exclaimed without offering an explanation of how evolution could deal with this high a mutational load. See also the 06/05/2011 entry, “Genetic Entropy Confirmed.”
Note: the Sanger Institute is named after geneticist Fred Sanger, not (thank goodness) Margaret Sanger, the racist-eugenicist founder of Planned Parenthood. She had thought eliminating the unfit would be improve humanity. Would that Sanger, Hitler and other believers in eugenics had known what John Sanford revealed so clearly in his book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome; all attempts to stop the tide of mutations are hopelessly ineffective. Not even extreme genocide of all the perceived unfit could stop the downward trend.
Even one or two mutations per generation is cause for alarm, let alone 60. John Sanford’s book is must reading to realize two things: (1) Natural selection can never find enough beneficial mutations to overcome the flood of deleterious ones, most of which are nearly-neutral mistakes that accumulate, like typographic errors, to cause genetic deterioration. (2) Humans could not possibly have lived for millions of years at this rate of mutational degradation. This story only reinforces with empirical data a worry about the future of our species that has long been known by population geneticists. We are not evolving, despite improvements in medicine; we are all less fit than Neanderthals and ancient Romans. Unless the Lord intervenes, the human genome is doomed.