Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mutations 2

Recently I talked about mutations to genes which cause changes in proteins. The DNA has sets of molecules called nucleotides which pair (therefore also called base pairs). The nucleotides eventually get "read" by biochemical means to produce specific proteins, which do much of the work of the body. I spoke about changes to the genes, one nucleotide at a time, as when it is copied for the next generation. There can also be larger changes to the DNA, as pictured to the right. However, these changes do not account for the whole story of getting from one protein structure to another. As an analogy, if you duplicate a paragraph in a book, it doesn't increase the information you receive. Michael Behe vividly describes in his book, Edge of Evolution, multiple possible changes in Melville's Moby Dick, and their potential effects upon the whole story (pages 116-119). To summarize, there is not much improvement from the original with random changes, as you might imagine.

The base pairs in a gene still have to go through the individual changes in the code so that the new protein/s will be produced.

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