In this issue . . .
Can gene duplication give rise to new genetic information?
Gene duplications followed by subsequent mutation of the duplicated genes are often cited by evolutionists as a mechanism for adding new information to the genome and providing new functions to the organism. Over millions of years this is thought to lead from molecules to man. Sean Carroll, author of a recent article in Nature on gene duplication in yeast, states, “This is how new capabilities arise and new functions evolve. This is what goes on in butterflies and elephants and humans. It is evolution in action.” However, Carroll’s research showed exactly the opposite—the complete impotence of gene duplication and mutations as a force driving molecules-to-man evolution.
Carroll and others studied the galactose use pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as baker’s yeast. This pathway enables yeast to metabolize the sugar galactose. S. cerevisiae is thought to have evolved from the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis 100 million years ago. Supposedly, the whole genome of K. lactis was duplicated—some of the duplicated genes were lost, and some were kept. This resulted in the formation of S. cerevisiae.
The focus of the research was two specific genes found in S. cerevisiae, GAL1 and GAL3, which code for proteins that function in the galactose use pathway. In the “ancestral” K. lactis one gene (called GAL1) serves the function of both GAL1 and GAL3. Carroll’s team believes that this is evidence of the past duplication event which led to S. cerevisiae.
To read the rest of this article, see Gene Duplication: Evolution Shooting Itself in the Foot.
News to Note Quick Look
The truth is in the tooth: One of the Indonesian “hobbit” fossils said to be a unique species of human from 18,000 years ago may have dropped by the dentist for a filling last century, reports ScienceNOW’s Elizabeth Culotta. Read more.
A fine yarn: Ancient textiles found in a tomb in Central America “rival modern textiles in their complexity and quality,” reports National Geographic News. Read more.
Also: the first “web” technology, Neanderthal veggies, and science at the museum. Read more.
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