January 11, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Human Genome in Meltdown

Most of the deleterious mutations in the human population arose in the last 5,000 to 10,000 years, a survey claims.

According to a study published Jan. 10 in Nature by geneticists from 4 universities including Harvard, “Analysis of 6,515 exomes reveals the recent origin of most human protein-coding variants.”  By recent they mean really recent on evolutionary timescales:

We estimate that approximately 73% of all protein-coding SNVs [single-nucleotide variants] and approximately 86% of SNVs predicted to be deleterious arose in the past 5,000–10,000 years. The average age of deleterious SNVs varied significantly across molecular pathways, and disease genes contained a significantly higher proportion of recently arisen deleterious SNVs than other genes.

The authors explained this in evolutionary terms as the result of “explosive population growth” and that “selection has not had sufficient time to purge them from the population.”  They claimed Europeans had more variants “consistent with weaker purifying selection due to the Out-of-Africa dispersal.”  The last paragraph assesses the impact of their findings:

More generally, the recent dramatic increase in human population size, resulting in a deluge of rare functionally important variation, has important implications for understanding and predicting current and future patterns of human disease and evolution. For example, the increased mutational capacity of recent human populations has led to a larger burden of Mendelian disorders, increased the allelic and genetic heterogeneity of traits, and may have created a new repository of recently arisen advantageous alleles that adaptive evolution will act upon in subsequent generations.

As for advantageous mutations, they provided NO examples.  That’s merely an assumption, based on neo-Darwinian theory, that evolution would need beneficial mutations as raw material for “adaptive evolution” in the future.  What they observed, by contrast, was a “larger burden of Mendelian disorders” afflicting mankind.

The findings depend on models and assumptions, but appear to support the thesis of John Sanford’s book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, which argues that the genetic load increases so rapidly that mankind could not have survived for tens of thousands of years, to say nothing of millions (see recent YouTube interview part 1 and part 2).  How can such rapid rate of degradation be sustained over evolutionary time?

The authors seemed a bit baffled by their findings.  The following paragraph gives a hint of that (compare “expected” vs observed):

The site frequency spectrum (SFS) of protein-coding SNVs revealed an enormous excess of rare variants (Fig. 1a). Indeed, we observed an SNV approximately once every 52 base pairs (bp) and 57 bp in European Americans and African Americans, respectively, whereas in a population without recent explosive growth we would expect the SNVs to occur once every 257 bp and 152 bp in European Americans and African Americans, respectively (Supplementary Information). Thus, the European American and African American samples contain approximately fivefold and threefold increases in SNVs, respectively, attributable to explosive population growth, resulting in a large burden of rare SNVs predicted to have arisen very recently (Fig. 1b). For example, the expected age of derived singletons, which comprise 55.1% of all SNVs, is 1,244 and 2,107 years for the European American and African American samples, respectively. Overall, 73.2% of SNVs (81.4% and 58.7% in European Americans and African Americans, respectively) are predicted to have arisen in the past 5,000 years. SNVs that arose more than 50,000 years ago were observed more frequently in the African American samples (Fig. 1b), which probably reflects stronger genetic drift in European Americans associated with the Out-of-Africa dispersal.

But how can they claim Europeans “probably” had stronger genetic drift at the same time Africans did not?  Genetic drift is not racist.  It appears they are fudging assumptions.

To the degree they have empirical support, their findings seem to fly in the face of long ages but support a human population that has only been in existence for 10,000 years or less, as indicated in the Genesis record.




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  • Donald Holliday says:

    “But how can they claim Europeans “probably” had stronger genetic drift at the same time Africans did not? Genetic drift is not racist. It appears they are fudging assumptions.”

    I’ve just now read an intellectually inspired worldview Fable called – “Did Lucy Walk, Climb, Or Both?” In one of the photographs they used in the story, they show an African man from Uganda climbing a tree. Seriously, we all know the racist implications forwarded by this bigoted religion that insists whites are on top of the evolutionary ladder compared to blacks. Why are blacks always depicted as a living transitional between an Ape and a white European on those animated evolutionary charts ? When confronted, many evolutionists have told me it has nothing to do with a racial issue. Yet when I ask why a modern Chinese Human Being or a modern African male is not depicted as representing modern mankind, I get nothing but foul language and personal insults. Somewhere James Watson is giving colleagues high-fives.

  • rockyway says:

    1. “…and may have created a new repository of recently arisen advantageous alleles that adaptive evolution will act upon in subsequent generations.”
    – I find the use of ‘evolution’ here mistaken and annoying; if they mean natural selection say so. Natural selection (to the extent it exists) is NOT equal to evolution. What is called NS would operate in a created world.

    2. ‘As for advantageous mutations, they provided NO examples. That’s merely an assumption, based on neo-Darwinian theory…’
    – Evolutionists continually confuse theory and reality. They speak of advantageous mutations (Owen Gingerich, in ‘God’s Universe’, even speaks of ”inspired mutations”) but empirical science doesn’t show this, but shows the opposite.

  • sixthbook says:

    I’ve found that when faced with these clear evidences for a recent human history evolutionists use a variety of cop outs like “well obviously it’s not that bad since we’ve existed for hundreds of thousands of years”, which totally misses the point of how this shows we can’t have existed that long. Then they’ll claim stuff like “selective pressure is not as strong now” which is a baseless assertion because they can’t possibly know what the selective pressure was like in their imaginary scenario hundreds of thousands of years ago.

    They sure don’t accept evolution because of its scientific backing…

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