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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 […]

Fatty Acid Synthesis: A Machine with “High Degree of Architectural Complexity”

As Bruce Alberts said in 1998, the biology of the future was going to be the study of molecular machines: “the entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines.”1  One of those machines is […]

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. […]

Cell Calcium Channel: Meet Me at the Gate

All cells use calcium ions for signalling.  The ions flow through specialized gates in the plasma membrane.  Inside the cell, receptors line the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), a kind of subway system where finishing work on proteins is done.  How do the two get together?  They arrange a meeting.     Richard Lewis, writing in Nature,1 […]

Evolutionary Predictions Fail Observational Tests

Lately, some expectations by evolutionists have not been fulfilled.  Here are several recent examples of evolutionary upsets: Dinobird genes cook up scrambled eggs:  Scientists expected that the dinosaurs presumed ancestral to birds would show a decreasing genome size.  The thinking was that the cost of maintaining a large genome takes its toll on flight.  In […]

Watch a Ribosome in Action

A remarkable article about a remarkable machine: that’s what Chemical and Engineering News has published about the ribosome, a molecular machine vital to everything alive in the world.  Stu Borman’s article lavishes praise on the details of this assembly-line factory that translates RNA into proteins.  He surveys the history of investigation into the ribosome’s secrets.  […]

Blind Cave Fish: Can Darwinism Be Credited for “Regressive Evolution”?

It is a worldwide phenomenon that cave creatures go blind.  Some cave fish lose their eyes entirely; in others, the eyes shrivel and lose function.  In many cave fish, scale pigmentation also changes.  Are these gradual modifications due to natural selection, Darwin’s mechanism of evolution, or to genetic drift?  Darwin himself could not see any […]

OOL on the Rocks

An important survey of the origin-of-life (OOL) field has been published in Scientific American.  Robert Shapiro, a senior prize-winning chemist, cancer researcher, emeritus professor and author of books in the field, debunks the Miller experiment, the RNA World and other popular experiments as unrealistic dead ends.  Describing the wishful thinking of some researchers, he said, […]

Cells Perform Nanomagic

The cell is quicker than the eye of our best scientific instruments.  Biochemists and biophysicists are nearing closer to watching cellular magic tricks in real time but aren’t quite there yet.  They know it’s just a trick of the eye, but it sure is baffling how cellular machines pull off their most amazing feats.  Think, […]

Contingency and the Structure of Life’s Building Blocks

Some Yale scientists found they could construct protein-like molecules using amino acids of a type not found in living things.  They found that beta-amino acids can fold into shapes similar to the proteins made of alpha-amino acids used in living things.  Beta-amino acids have an extra carbon on the backbone.  “Yale chemists show that nature […]
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