Researching Creation

March 06, 2009

Biological Change / Lightner's Most Recent Article on Genetic Change

JB

Jean Lightner just posted a good article up on AiG's website covering Creationary beliefs about biological change.  She notes that Creationists should expect both bad mutations because of sin and death that is in the world, and good mutations because of the care that God put into His creation.  She also made an interesting case for directed mutation in human pigmentation.

Basically, the argument goes like this:

  • MC1R (a gene for human pigmentation) is a highly mutable gene
  • MC1R tends to be regionally adapted
  • 100 Africans were tested, and none of them showed any sequence divergence from other members of the group [UPDATE - Jean pointed out in the comments that this should be "amino acid sequence" - there were some silent DNA mutations]
  • The skin cancers that develop from improper pigmentation don't show up until you are about 57 years of age, and thus will have already finished having children - therefore, natural selection will be unable to effectively remove variants from the population
  • Therefore, it seems reasonable that mutations happen in this gene because of need, rather than accident, and when there is no need, there is little or no mutation.

This is a really cool direction of research.  I also wonder what sort of mechanism would be used to control this.  Is there a feedback loop somewhere which tells the skin that the pigmentation is set at the right level?  Are the mutations prevented by methylation or some other epigenetic mechanism?  Is there something there functioning as a counter to determine how many generations it should search for an optimum versus attempt to establish a constant sequence?

Anyway, another nice thing about this article is it cited my CRSQ paper.  Yay!  Now I just have to find time to finish my BSG paper :)