Friday, September 7, 2012

ENCODE: DNA Junkless

ENCODE is a project that has been studying DNA since the Human Genome Project (HGP) laid out the entire sequence for humans. They have just published results in Nature Journal of Science  about their latest discoveries on what the DNA in the areas between genes does.  They have found at least 80% of DNA to be functional, from a previous estimate of 5% to 10% (a pretty big miss).  Before, many scientists insisted that most of DNA was junk, accumulated through totally random mutation of genes.  Francis Collins himself, leader of the HGP, used junk DNA as an example of materialistic biological evolution. I'm generalizing by putting all scientists in a lump, but let's face it, we don't see many supporting creationism or intelligent design theory.  However, though they are saying one thing, they must be thinking another, since they sunk about $200 million into the study.  Why study junk?  Because more and more small studies supported evidence that non-protein-coding areas had to do with gene regulation.  They could no longer ignore it.  They may even find that 100% of DNA is functional when they further improve their ability to detect activity. 

Reporting of these findings has been in major media outlets, including the NY Times.  Many more papers of the discoveries will be published in science journals over time.  A good first synopsis of the findings is at Evolution News and Views.

Most evolutionists want you to believe evolution is totally materialistic, without any Divine guiding hand.  This affects our school textbooks and even what they want parents teaching their children.  Researchers now think there are 4 million switches in DNA for gene regulation to form parts of the body and get it to work.  Billions of years sounds like a lot of time, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the probability of all this coming together by chance.  Changing one's mind can be very difficult, but on the other side is an amazing world of wonder. 

One down-side to this research is that human embryonic stem cells have been used for it and are continuing to be used for further discovery.  If there are other ways to learn about these things I would challenge scientists to use their ingenuity to find them. That is a discussion the whole country (and world) need to go into.

Even without the use of human embryonic stem cells, we are seeing more of the complexity of DNA and the cell.  May more and more of us praise the Lord for his wondrous, amazing works.

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