“Conserved DNA” and “Useful DNA” – An Evolutionary Predicament

As I have stated before, naturalistic evolutionists are forced to have a very simplistic view of life. Since they cannot accept that life was designed by an incredibly intelligent designer, they are forced to look at life through a ridiculously simplistic lens. This produces all sorts of problems for them. One of the more recent ones involves the amount of DNA that is “conserved” in class Mammalia.

For those who don’t know the term, “conserved DNA” is DNA that is similar across many different species. In the simplistic evolutionary view, DNA that is very important will be very similar in many different organisms, because important DNA cannot change very much. As Tina Hesman Saey writes in Science News1

About 7 percent of the human genome is similar to the DNA of other mammals, said Arend Sidow of Stanford University. Because it is similar, or “conserved,” geneticists assume this DNA is the most integral.

As Saey’s article indicates, this leaves Sidow to conclude that, “very little of the human genome is really necessary.” According to evolution, if only 7% of the human genome is conserved across all of class Mammalia, this indicates that most mammalian DNA was mutating freely, with very little constraint, during the long period of mammalian evolution. This, in turn, indicates that most mammalian DNA does little to affect the survivability of the mammal in question, and thus most mammalian DNA is not necessary. Indeed, the title of the article is, “Genome may be full of junk after all.”

Like most evolution-inspired ideas, however, this flies in the face of what science tells us about DNA.

To understand what science is telling us about DNA, all you have to do is read an excellent review article in the December 17, 2010 issue of Science.2 At the beginning of the article, the author states:

It used to seem so straightforward. DNA told the body how to build proteins. The instructions came in chapters called genes. Strands of DNA’s chemical cousin RNA served as molecular messengers, carrying orders to the cells’ protein factories and translating them into action. Between the genes lay long stretches of “junk DNA,” incoherent, useless, and inert.

Despite the fact that most evolutionists would like us to forget it, the evolutionary view from just a decade ago was that the vast majority of human DNA is junk. Sidow’s comparison of DNA across mammals seems to indicate the same thing. The problem is that genetics tells us something completely different.

According to the review article in Science, for example, 40% of genetic differences related to disease show up in the supposed “junk DNA.” In addition, portions of the “junk” are now known to produce small RNAs, which end up being very important regulators of genes. But small RNAs are not the only thing the supposed “junk” produces. Long intervening noncoding RNAs that are produced by the “junk” have also been implicated in gene regulation. The article also mentions the ENCODE project, which indicates that the vast majority of the human genome is translated into RNA.

This, of course, is the heart of the problem that Sidow’s work exposes. According to evolution, important DNA shouldn’t change much over time, especially when comparing relatively similar creatures. Thus, the fact that only 7% of the human genome is conserved across all mammals indicates that only 7% of the human genome is really important. However, studies of what the genome actually does indicate that most of the human genome is important.

Eventually, evolutionists will figure out a way to “explain around” this predicament. Those of us who are willing to allow the data to shape our scientific views, however, can see this predicament for what it is – an indication of how silly the evolutionary idea of “conserved DNA” really is.


1. Tina Hesman Saey, “Genome may be full of junk after all,” Science News December 4, 2010, p. 17.
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2. Elizabeth Pennisi, “Shining a Light on the Genome’s ‘Dark Matter’,” Science 330: 1614, 2010.
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  1. Josiah says:

    “Thus, the fact that only 7% of the human genome is conserved across all mammals indicates that only 7% of the human genome is really important. However, studies of what the genome actually does indicate that most of the human genome is important.”

    I wouldn’t agree with that argument at all. That only 7% is conserved indicates that only 7% is critical for basic life or used in defining what makes a mammal. That doesn’t say that the other 93% is unused or unnecessary, but is used for defining features unique to that species or category of mammal-hence chimps being considered closer relations to humans have more DNA in common.

    1. jlwile says:

      Josiah, I agree with you, but it flies in the face of evolutionary reasoning. Remember, until we learned more about the chimpanzee genome, evolutionists tried to push the idea that there was only about 1-2% difference between the human genome and the chimp genome. Evolutionists are forced to think of mammals as mostly the genetically same, since they came on the evolutionary scene so late in history and have such long generation spans. As Haldane’s Dilemma demonstrates, there just isn’t enough time for mammal genetics to have evolved to the point where mammal genomes are so different, unless most of the difference is in the portion of DNA that don’t do anything.

  2. Josiah says:

    If the majority of mutations took place in genes which didn’t do anything, how would those mutations expect to differentiate between people, dogs, mice, and platypuses?

    1. jlwile says:

      They would not, Josiah. The evolutionary idea is that the differences between people, dogs, mice, and platypuses are fairly small genetically. Evolutionists have to believe that, since there are just not a lot of generations available for evolution to have occurred among animals. Any mutation that would lead to differentiation among species must be selected and must become the “standard” in the population, and that just takes a long time. Given the fact that people, dogs, mice, and platypuses all have fairly long generations, there just isn’t time for 93% of the genome to evolve so as to distinguish between the different species of mammals. Once again, this is why Sidow is so adamant that his research indicates the majority of the human genome is junk.

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