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New Scientist Article on ORFan Genes

New Scientist carries an interesting article on the subject of ORFan genes (i.e. genes which possess no known homologue):

NOT having any family is tough. Often unappreciated and uncomfortably different, orphans have to fight to fit in and battle against the odds to realise their potential. Those who succeed, from Aristotle to Steve Jobs, sometimes change the world.

Who would have thought that our DNA plays host to a similar cast of foundlings? When biologists began sequencing genomes, they discovered that up to a third of genes in each species seemed to have no parents or family of any kind. Nevertheless, some of these “orphan genes” are high achievers, and a few even seem have played a part in the evolution of the human brain.

But where do they come from? With no obvious ancestry, it was as if these genes had appeared from nowhere, but that couldn’t be true. Everyone assumed that as we learned more, we would discover what had happened to their families. But we haven’t …

Download the full article here.

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7 Responses to New Scientist Article on ORFan Genes

  1. Genes from nowhere: Orphans with a surprising story – by Helen Pilcher
    http://ccsb.dfci.harvard.edu/w.....n_2013.pdf

  2. With no obvious ancestry, it was as if these genes had appeared from nowhere, but that couldn’t be true.

    lol. Maybe they emerged from nowhere.

  3. Human Gene Count Tumbles Again – 2008
    Excerpt: Scientists on the hunt for typical genes — that is, the ones that encode proteins — have traditionally set their sights on so-called open reading frames, which are long stretches of 300 or more nucleotides, or “letters” of DNA, bookended by genetic start and stop signals.,,,, The researchers considered genes to be valid if and only if similar sequences could be found in other mammals – namely, mouse and dog. Applying this technique to nearly 22,000 genes in the Ensembl gene catalog, the analysis revealed 1,177 “orphan” DNA sequences.,,, the researchers compared the orphan sequences to the DNA of two primate cousins, chimpanzees and macaques. After careful genomic comparisons, the orphan genes were found to be true to their name — they were absent from both primate genomes.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161406.htm

    From Jerry Coyne, More Table-Pounding, Hand-Waving – May 2012
    Excerpt: “More than 6 percent of genes found in humans simply aren’t found in any form in chimpanzees. There are over fourteen hundred novel genes expressed in humans but not in chimps.”
    Jerry Coyne – ardent and ‘angry’ neo-Darwinist – professor at the University of Chicago in the department of ecology and evolution for twenty years. He specializes in evolutionary genetics.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....60271.html

    A 2007 article in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution states:

    “For about 23% of our genome, we share no immediate genetic ancestry with our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. This encompasses genes and exons to the same extent as intergenic regions. We conclude that about 1/3 of our genes started to evolve as human-specific lineages before the differentiation of human, chimps, and gorillas took place.”

    (Ingo Ebersberger, Petra Galgoczy, Stefan Taudien, Simone Taenzer, Matthias Platzer, and Arndt von Haeseler, “Mapping Human Genetic Ancestry,” Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol. 24(10):2266-2276 (2007).)

    An integrated encyclopedia of DNA elements in the human genome – Sept. 6, 2012
    Excerpt: Analysis,,, yielded 57 confidently identified unique peptide sequences in intergenic regions relative to GENCODE annotation. Taken together with evidence of pervasive genome transcription, these data indicate that additional protein-coding genes remain to be found.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....11247.html

    Did (ORFan) Proteins Evolve From Long Non Coding RNAs? – Cornelius Hunter – Dec. 2012
    Excerpt: The review paper did not actually explain how orphans could have evolved. Rather, it assumed they evolved and explained that, given that orphans evolved, how fast they must have evolved,,,
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....g-non.html

    Could Chance Arrange the Code for (Just) One Gene?
    “our minds cannot grasp such an extremely small probability as that involved in the accidental arranging of even one gene (10^-236).”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/epoi_c10.htm

    “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds” 2004: – Doug Axe ,,,this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences.”
    http://www.mendeley.com/resear.....yme-folds/

    These New Protein Findings Are a Problem Even According to the Evolutionist’s Own Numbers – Cornelius Hunter – March 2012
    Excerpt: And the numbers are even smaller for de novo genes found in humans. The time allowed goes down to about 5 million years and the effective population size goes down by at least two orders of magnitude, to about 10^5. So in this case the upper and lower limits become 10^14 and 10^10, respectively. And while these estimates are optimistic, they fall short by more than 50 orders of magnitude. The numbers don’t add up. The evolution of de novo genes can only count on from 10^10 to 10^18 attempts (and that’s optimistic). But the number of attempts that are required is estimated to be 10^63 and 10^77. This isn’t even close. These numbers show astronomical problems, yet evolutionists are certain their idea is a fact.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....oblem.html

    More from Ann Gauger on why humans didn’t happen the way Darwin said – July 2012
    Excerpt: Each of these new features probably required multiple mutations. Getting a feature that requires six neutral mutations is the limit of what bacteria can produce. For primates (e.g., monkeys, apes and humans) the limit is much more severe. Because of much smaller effective population sizes (an estimated ten thousand for humans instead of a billion for bacteria) and longer generation times (fifteen to twenty years per generation for humans vs. a thousand generations per year for bacteria), it would take a very long time for even a single beneficial mutation to appear and become fixed in a human population.
    You don’t have to take my word for it. In 2007, Durrett and Schmidt estimated in the journal Genetics that for a single mutation to occur in a nucleotide-binding site and be fixed in a primate lineage would require a waiting time of six million years. The same authors later estimated it would take 216 million years for the binding site to acquire two mutations, if the first mutation was neutral in its effect.
    Facing Facts
    But six million years is the entire time allotted for the transition from our last common ancestor with chimps to us according to the standard evolutionary timescale. Two hundred and sixteen million years takes us back to the Triassic, when the very first mammals appeared. One or two mutations simply aren’t sufficient to produce the necessary changes— sixteen anatomical features—in the time available. At most, a new binding site might affect the regulation of one or two genes.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rwin-said/

    Music and verse:

    Genesis 1:27
    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

    Chris Tomlin – The Way I Was Made
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF5SZWox_JE

  4. ORFan genes are, of course, proof of intelligent design and a direct falsification of Darwinian evolution.

    Will anybody in the mainstream media pick this up and turn it into the biggest scientific news story in a century? Nope. It takes guts to tell the truth in this world.

  5. Of course, the ID argument here requires that ORFan genes cannot arise through the usual chemical processes that go on in the cell. We know that this is wrong, that the processes of recombination, mutation, and the like can easily “create” new protein-coding genes. Moreover, we know that these can possess complex biochemical activities.

    In other words, this is but another in a series of mistaken anti-evolution arguments.

  6. Pfft- they just “look like” ORFan genes. In real life they are the recombined result, a hybrid, of several existing DNA sequences.

    Thrown together by chance and kept by selection.

    They emerged, not from nowhere, but from the blind watchmaker’s brewing over eons of time.

    See, being an evolutionist is easy

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