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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Did the Human Genome Project show that DNA is quite variable?

I was perusing an amusing "Evolution is a Lie!"-type website that an old church friend sent me. (I'm not going to link to it because the atheist readers will just chuckle.) Anyway, one of the claims that was new to me concerned the alleged similarity of human and ape DNA. I think most of us have heard that humans are 99.x% similar to chimpanzees in DNA or something like that, right? But apparently the Human Genome Project changed that consensus. The website quoted this from a supposed news article:

Scientists Revise Map of Human Genome
By Jessica Berman, Washington

Scientists have revised the map of the human genome, saying human beings are genetically more complex than previously thought. The discovery has surprised experts who say it is likely to transform medical research. VOA's Jessica Berman reports.

In 2000, the Human Genome Project unveiled a road map of the six billion chemical bases, or alphabet molecules, that make up the body's genetic structure called DNA.

The DNA encodes for 30,000 genes or proteins which are responsible for every physical characteristic in the body, including eye and hair color. At the time, scientists said all humans could be 99.9 percent genetically identical.

But as they peered more deeply into the DNA of unrelated individuals, researchers made a startling discovery - large segments of their DNA, from thousands to millions of units, varied greatly, a phenomenon called copy number variations, or CNVs.

The discovery means that the genes of any given individual are at least 10 to 12 percent different from those of another human.



Regardless of whether it affects the theory of common descent, is the above true? I.e. do reputable scientists now say that the DNA between two human beings can differ up to 12%?

22 comments:

  1. I don't know the answer to your question, Bob, but I just can't see how the answer supports the creationist side of the debate. I can see it as maybe weakly supporting the evolutionist side.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Andy,

    A typical evolutionist argument is like this: "If God created all the different species from scratch, there's no reason for them to have similar DNA. Yet humans and chimps have 99% [or whatever] identical DNA sequences. So how can you idiots deny that they have a common ancestor?!"

    So do you now see why it would be a big deal if they were off by a factor of 100 in their estimate of the genetic differences between humans and apes?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11:24 PM

    http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn2833

    It appears to be more like a 95% difference between chimp and man. A couple other websites tend to agree.

    There is a large difference between creationism and evolutionism by intelligent design. The only thing such a difference might result in is a demand for an explanation by "random" evolutionists.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous6:01 AM

    The last paragraph of the preceiding post would make sense stated:

    There is a large difference between creationism and intelligent design. The only thing the 5% difference claim will result in is a demand for an explanation from "random evolutionists".

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kant demonstrated, 100 years before Darwin, that the questions of design and evolution are entirely orthogonal. Eric Voegelin noted that it is one of the most puzzling episodes in intellectual history that, with this matter settled, that 19th-century intellectuals took Darwin's theory to be a blow against design! (How could I say it was "settled" when obviously people were arguing this point? They were ignorant!)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous2:31 AM

    What was Kant's demonstration of this? Was it in Critique of Pure Reason?

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