Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gene regulation separates humans from apes: study, etc

Gene regulation separates humans from apes: study, ABC March 9, 2006. ? Why are humans and apes so different if their genomes are so similar? Less than 4 per cent of the chimpanzee's genetic code is different from humans - a tally so tiny that some speculate the distinction between primates may lie in just a handful of key genes - perhaps as few as 50 out of 20,000 or so in the human genome. But a study published on Thursday in Nature, the British science weekly, suggests the truth lies elsewhere. Put simply, the researchers say it is not the number of genes that counts but the way they operate. ... Genes are the codes for making proteins, the molecules that make up cells and direct their operations. The molecular ballet of proteins is extraordinarily complex and even slight changes in gene regulation can have enormous repercussions on anatomy and behaviour. Researchers led by Yoav Gilad, an assistant professor of genetics at the University of Chicago, looked at the expression of 1,056 genes in ? man, the orangutan, chimpanzee and rhesus macaque monkey ... Sixty per cent of these genes - mainly involved in basic cellular processes - are pretty much unchanged in their expression patterns. The big difference was in a group of genes for transcription factors - important genes that control the expression of other genes. Hominids split with chimps, the last break in the common primate lineage, around 5 million years ago. Since then, transcription factor genes among humans are four times more likely to have changed expression patterns as the genes they regulate. But there was no such change among the other primates. "The big question is why are humans so different?" associate professor Gilad said. "What sort of changes in the environment or lifestyle would drive such a rapid shift in the expression of genes - in this case the liver - in humans and no other primate?" Associate professor Gilad speculates that the answer could lie in the acquisition of fire, one of the fundamental differences between humans and animals. "No other animal relies on cooked food," associate professor Gilad said. "Perhaps something in the cooking process altered the biochemical requirements for maximal access to nutrients as well as the need to process the natural toxins found in plant and animal foods." The idea that gene expression, rather than the raw number of genes, could explain the differences between primates was first aired in 1975. But until now, lack of technology prevented the theory from being taken further. ... [This shows how misleading is the claim that based on their genes, humans are just another form of chimps, and the latter should have human rights. Also, Darwinists usually assume that form follows function (i.e. "changes in the environment or lifestyle" leads to changes in genes) and rarely (if ever) that function follows form (i.e. changes in genes leads to changes in lifestyle). It seems to me that the latter is much more likely. After all, humans have now been living in every continent for tens of thousands of years, under every different environments, and their genes have changed only superficially. This is a point made by Pierre Grasse:

"Man is one of the most cosmopolitan terrestrial animals; he lives in all kinds of climates. He underwent several thousand types of mutations, judging from the number of alleles reported in the various human populations presently comprising three billion individuals, all showing different genotypes .... The potential supply of mutants for selection is thus very abundant. What has happened, then? Nothing important or even noticeable. ... Mutations do differentiate individuals, but the human species, despite the magnitude of its population and the diversity of its habitats, both of which are conditions favorable for the evolution of the human species, exhibits anatomical and physiological stability. In wealthy western societies natural selection is thwarted by medical care, good hygiene, and abundant food, but it was not always so. Today in underdeveloped countries, where birth and death rates are equally high (tropical Africa, Amazonia, Pakistan, India, Patagonia, some Polynesian islands), natural selection can exert its pressure freely; yet the human type hardly changes. ... Within each population, men differ by their genotype, and yet the species Homo sapiens has not modified its plan or structure of functions. To the common base are added a variety of diversifying and personifying ornaments, totally lacking evolutionary value." (Grasse P.-P., "Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation," [1973], Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, pp.85-86)]

S.C. Schools Won't 'Analyze' Evolution: S.C. Board of Education Rejects Call to 'Critically Analyze' Evolution, ABC News ? COLUMBIA, S.C. Mar 8, 2006 (AP) - The state Board of Education on Wednesday rejected a state panel's proposal to change high school standards on evolution by calling on students to "critically analyze" the theory. Science teachers had complained that although critical analysis is part of all science, the wording was really a backdoor attempt to force educators to teach religious-based alternatives. In a 10-6 vote, board members agreed. The Education Oversight Committee, a school reform panel made up of lawmakers, teachers, parents and other community members, recommended the change last month. Panel member Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, has said it was intended to introduce students to challenges to evolutionary theory. Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum, a Democrat, has called the effort "a ploy to confuse the issue of evolution so that ultimately evolution won't be taught." ... [The more the Darwinists seek to protect their sacred cow from criticism, the more students will (at least subconsciously) consider that evolution is a weak theory that cannot withstand criticism!]

Santorum writes foreword for book on intelligent design, Wilkes Barre Times-Leader/AP, Mar. 08, 2006, Kimberly Hefling ?WASHINGTON - Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum wrote the foreword for a new book praising a retired law professor sometimes called the father of the intelligent-design movement. The book, "Darwin's Nemesis: Phillip Johnson and the Intelligent Design Movement," consists of 18 essays honoring Johnson's work, according to the publisher, InterVarsity Press. It was edited by William A. Dembski, and is available in April. .... Johnson's 1991 book "Darwin on Trial" has been credited with helping to facilitate the intelligent design movement into the classroom. Santorum, the No. 3 Senate Republican, praises Johnson in the foreword as someone who has helped promote a group of leaders in the cause of "scientific renewal," .... Santorum also credits Johnson with assisting him in his efforts to "inject a renewed and unbiased understanding of science and its practice into the curricula of our public schools." "The importance of the cause is clear: what could be more important than showing that only a shallow, partisan understanding of science supports the false philosophy of materialist reductionism with its thoroughly unscientific denial of formal and final causes in nature and its repudiation of the first cause of all being?" Santorum said as the decline "of true science has been a major factor in the decline of Western culture, so too the renewal of science will play a big part in cultural renewal." ... [For those who can't wait to read this (like me!), there is an online Preface by William A. Dembski and Chapter 1. Your Witness, Mr. Johnson: A Retrospective Review of Darwin on Trial by Stephen Meyer.]

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
"Problems of Evolution"

No comments: