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Junk Is the Essence of Mankind

Christians may proclaim “God don’t make no junk” but evolutionists boast of our junky heritage.  Erika Check wrote in Nature this week,1 “It’s the junk that makes us human.”  She was referring to non-coding DNA, long considered “junk DNA.”  There is growing awareness that these sections of unclear function are involved in the regulation of […]

Bees Make Beeline to the Headlines

The science journals and media were abuzz with honeybee stories this week.  We counted 18 press releases and half a dozen research papers related to aspects of honeybees, including the publication of the honeybee genome.  Many research labs seem to have gotten into the act of figuring out what makes bees tick.  The major stories […]

Nature Potpourri

Articles of interest from Nature have been piling up in the CEH queues.  Perhaps a brief mention is better than nothing, before they fall into archive oblivion. Carbon 14:  In the Sept 14 issue, there was a give & take between critics of a carbon-14-dated study and the author.  The critics pointed out, “We appreciate […]

Punc Eq Happens

A controversial study in Science found evidence for punctuated equilibria.1  A long-standing debate in evolutionary biology concerns whether species diverge gradually through time or by punctuational episodes at the time of speciation.  We found that approximately 22% of substitutional changes at the DNA level can be attributed to punctuational evolution, and the remainder accumulates from […]

More Reasons Why DNA Is Perfect for Coding

Scientists at Vanderbilt University may have been trying to explain chemical evolution, but hit on another reason DNA is the ideal molecule for carrying genetic information (see also Science Daily).  They tweaked the sugar molecule on the DNA backbone and got an unwieldy, haphazard, writhing ribbon of a molecule, unsuitable for bonding genetic code or […]

Paper View:  Evolutionists Augur Genes for Tales of Eyes, Hearts, Brains

The Sept. 29 issue of Science includes a special section on evolutionary genetics, beginning with an overview by Barbara R. Jasny, Elizabeth Pennisi and John Travis entitled “Genomic Tales.”1  Our organs tell stories.  A pathologist, for example, can look at a lung and recognize a lifetime of toiling in a mine.  Our genes tell stories, […]

Genetic Toolkit Manages Dangerous Tools with Safety Switch and Lockbox

Laymen appreciate scientists who can express complex concepts in everyday terms.  Here’s a good example from the Wistar Institute: Around the home, regularly used tools are generally kept close at hand: a can opener in a kitchen drawer, a broom in the hall closet.  Less frequently used tools are more likely to be stored in […]

Voles Throw Evolutionary Genetics Into Disarray

What is it with voles?  These little gopher-like furballs with beady eyes, short tails and tiny ears are giving evolutionary geneticists fits.  A press release from Purdue University states, “Purdue University research has shown that the vole, a mouselike rodent, is not only the fastest evolving mammal, but also harbors a number of puzzling genetic […]

Do Mammals Depend on Virus Help?

Researchers found that sheep depend on a retrovirus to become pregnant.  Retroviruses (those that can insert themselves into a genome of a host cell) include the dreaded HIV and generally have a bad reputation.  Remnant retroviruses are prevalent in many animal species and have been considered a class of “junk DNA,” having mutated away their […]

Is the Fruit from Darwin’s Tree Edible?

Darwin’s “Tree of Life” fruit stand found an upbeat salesman in John Roach at National Geographic this week.  In his update on the “Assembling the Tree of Life” (AToL) project, he reported cheerfully that “New cures, supercrops, and secrets of evolution may emerge from the fast-growing branches of the ‘Tree of Life,’ scientists say.”   […]

Express Your Inner Alley Oop

There’s a little Neanderthal in a lot of us, claims The Telegraph.  This is bad news and good news: People who have large noses, a stocky build and a beetle brow may indeed be a little Neanderthal, according to a genetic study.  But the good news is that other research concludes that Neanderthals were much […]

Chimp-Human Genes Evolved Much Faster Than Expected

It’s been all over the news lately – human DNA shows surprisingly divergent regions from chimpanzee counterparts.  The Houston Chronicle, for instance, summarizes the find: Searching across the four genomes, the team looked for regions of DNA about 100 letters long that had made the biggest leaps. One, they found, had changed nearly twice as […]

Team Returns Pseudogene to Junkpile to Counter ID Claim

An earlier claim that a pseudogene has a function (see 05/01/2003 story) has been debunked by a team of scientists reporting in PNAS.1  Their reanalysis of the claim made in 2003 “invalidates the data upon which the pseudogene trans-regulation model is based and therefore strongly supports the view that mammalian pseudogenes are evolutionary relics.”  The […]

Self-Correcting RNA: Is It a Missing Link?

A team of Russian scientists at Rutgers discovered a remarkable phenomenon: RNA that proofreads itself during its own synthesis.  The work was reported in Science1: “We show that during transcription elongation, the hydrolytic reaction stimulated by misincorporated nucleotides proofreads most of the misincorporation events and thus serves as an intrinsic mechanism of transcription fidelity.”  It […]

A Second Code Controls the DNA Code

More has been discovered about the histone or nucleosome code (see 02/17/2004), a second genetic code independent of the DNA genetic sequence that directs the formation of proteins.  The New York Times (see also Science Daily) reported on work by scientists at Northwestern University who found that the wrapping of DNA around nucleosomes (made of […]
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