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Creation 40(4):47, October 2018

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Recent origin of species

New DNA study challenges evolution’s story

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A major study of 5 million ‘DNA barcodes’ on mitochondria has given some controversial results that fit well with the Bible’s history in Genesis.

All complex1 organisms have mitochondria, which are the power-generating factories inside cells. In addition to the regular DNA which makes up the chromosomes in the cell’s nucleus, each mitochondrion has its own loop of DNA. The ‘barcode’ is the sequence of one particular gene on this mitochondrial DNA. The barcodes were compared across the spectrum of life.

It’s an interesting piece of research, and the authors are clearly aware of the controversial nature of their findings for the evolutionary big picture; they provide extensive discussion of the implications.2

The researchers concluded that, no matter what the organism, human or animal, almost all the current populations have “…expanded from mitochondrial uniformity within the past 200,000 years.”

In other words, each organism began with only one form of the barcode gene, and all the diversity has developed within that period. They write as evolutionists and make evolutionary assumptions to get this extended timeframe, which is, however, still a long way short of evolution’s ‘millions of years’. Why would all organisms converge on the same timeframe? It just does not add up for the evolutionary story. They tentatively suggest that the last ice age might explain this pervasive pattern, but that would not affect all creatures. For one thing, large parts of the world, including the tropical rainforests and oceanic coral reefs that thrived during this time, remained free of ice.

With some slightly different assumptions about mutation rates, the data would fit neatly with the creation of all organisms about 6,000 years ago.3

The authors also acknowledge that, regarding modern humans:

More approaches have been brought to bear on the emergence and outgrowth of Homo sapiens sapiens (i.e., modern humans) than any other species including full genome sequence analysis of thousands of individuals and tens of thousands of mitochondria, paleontology, anthropology, history and linguistics.

The congruence of these fields supports the view that modern human mitochondria and Y chromosome originated from conditions that imposed a single sequence on these genetic elements between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. Contemporary sequence data cannot tell whether mitochondrial and Y chromosomes clonality occurred at the same time, i.e., consistent with the extreme bottleneck of a founding pair, or via sorting within a founding population of thousands that was stable for tens of thousands of years. As [science philosopher Thomas] Kuhn points out unresolvable arguments tend toward rhetoric.4

So much for those who claim that modern genetics does not support the existence of Adam and Eve—the data are “consistent with the extreme bottleneck of a founding pair”.

References and notes

  1. I.e. virtually all those which have a cell nucleus (called eukaryotes)—unlike bacteria (prokaryotes) which don’t. Return to text.
  2. Stoeckle M.Y. and Thaler, D.S., Why should mitochondria define species? Human Evolution 33(1–2):1–30, 2018; DOI: 10.14673/HE2018121037. Return to text.
  3. Wieland, C., Mitochondrial Eve and biblical Eve are looking good: criticism of young age is premature, J. Creation 19(1):57–59, 2005; creation.com/eve3.
  4. Stoeckle and Thaler, ref. 2, p.22. Return to text.

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