by Bill Nugent
There’s a popular expression that goes “God don’t make no junk.” Yet in the early days of the Human Genome Project, which was the effort by geneticists to sequence human DNA, there was much talk about “junk” DNA. Junk DNA are the pseudo genes and many other types of genetic structures that were thought to have no practical function.
The man who coined the term “junk DNA” way back in 1972 was geneticist Susumu Ohno. Ohno was a man with strong evolutionist presuppositions. He regarded the large numbers of base pair sequences that had no known function as chemical fossils from our alleged evolutionary past. Many other geneticists who had received indoctrination in evolution in the public schools and universities also explained pseudo genes as vestiges that had function only in the distant past but were deactivated by mutations and remained in the DNA only by their ability to replicate themselves.
This evolutionary presumption actually held up the progress of science. Since junk DNA was so conveniently explained and since the majority of scientists believed that junk DNA had no function very few scientists took a serious look at trying to find out if junk DNA had any real role in the genome. For decades little scientific inquiry was made about a possible role for pseudo genes.
Creationists are often falsely accused of holding back science because of our belief that God created life. The evolutionists accuse us of saying “God did it, why study it.” In reality the opposite is true. Creationists really say “God did it, therefore let’s study it and learn more about God’s creation and think God’s thoughts after Him.” All of the founders of modern science were Bible believing creationists. Isaac Newton, often called the founder of modern science was a committed believer and wrote more on theology than he wrote on science. Roger Bacon, Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle (founder of chemistry), the list goes on, were creationists and committed Bible believers. Modern science exploded only in postreformation Europe which was the only place on the planet where the Bible was respected, believed and made available to all the people.
In June 2007 Project ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) which was research on DNA, including junk DNA, conducted by hundreds of scientists in 11 countries, reported their findings in 29 papers published in two prominent journals. Some of the most shocking findings consisted of the discoveries of actual or inferred functional roles of almost every conceivable form of junk DNA including pseudo genes. Tim Hubbard of Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said “We are now seeing the majority of the rest of the genome is active to some extent.”
The traditional definition of a gene is that it is a strand of nucleotide base pairs that code for the production of a protein. A pseudo gene is a strand of base pairs that is similar to a gene but lacks the coding to actually produce a protein. Hence the traditional view of a pseudo gene was that it at one time was a gene but mutations caused it to lose its coding so it became inactive. This view has now been rejected because ENCODE discovered that pseudogenes code for RNA. In fact they discovered that almost all DNA transcribes into RNA. Thus pseudogenes perform a regulatory function and collaborate with each other and with the protein transcribing genes. This helps explain why the human genome contains roughly 22,500 genes yet produces about 200,000 proteins.
ENCODE also revealed more of the mind boggling complexity of the genome. The ability of genes to switch on and off, the ability of some base pair strands to move to different parts of the DNA and other amazing findings show that the DNA molecule is a labyrinth of interdependent complex systems. This fits nicely with the creationist view that such a marvelously complex chemical system could not have come about by any conceivable random evolutionary step by step process. The creationist view of DNA is that God created life forms with intact, fully functional DNA and that mutations, deletions and accumulated errors are minor and came about as a result of the curse that came upon earth as a result of Adam’s fall into sin. Mutations are destructive errors and virtually never add base pairs to the DNA necessary to cause uphill evolutionary change. Thus evolution has no mechanism for development of new organs and evolution is therefore falsified. The fact that the misnamed junk DNA has been found to be functional is strong confirmation of the creationist view. The latest findings in biochemistry and microbiology continue to show the falsity of the evolution paradigm. This saying is true: DNA refutes evolution!
My sources for the above article include “Junk” DNA – past, present and future, part 1 by Dr. Georgia Purdom and “Junk” DNA: evolutionary discards or God’s tools? by Linda K. Walkup, both available at answersingenesis.org.