Tag Archives: DNA

potential evidence for intelligent design

questionable authority reviews a pro-‘intelligent design theory’ entry that describes a future history of the fabulous medical and scientific breakthroughs generated by ‘intelligent design theory’ and the abandonment of ‘Darwinism’. While the whole post is highly recommended, it was one of the commentors who really tickled my fancy. Responding to the future history’s assertion that ‘Darwinist’ scientists ignore ‘junk DNA’*, commentator Stephen Stralka adds:

It also occurs to me that no matter how much functionality we ultimately discover in junk DNA, none of it will be any better evidence for ID than what we currently know about DNA.

The kind of thing that would be evidence of design would be if the junk DNA turned out to contain stuff like copyright notices and license agreements.

Or copy protection. DRM-protected genomes that prevent unauthorized replications, derivative works, jumping genes & species hopping diseases? Or maybe when you have a baby, a rootkit installs itself on the parents’ reproductive organs, preventing them from further replications. I do indeed see a great future for ‘intelligent design theory’.

(Another commenter followed up:

Oh, man. “If you agree to the terms of this pregnancy, click Agree. Otherwise, click Abort.”

Except that he’s missing about 5 screens’ worth of finely printed legal verbiage about restrictions on the pregnancy and abortion process. Luckily Frontline has got it covered.)

* According to the ‘future history of intelligent design’, ‘Darwinian’ scientists don’t do research on ‘junk DNA’. really? in this future history, will my partner’s dissertation & ongoing postdoc work on various aspects of gene regulation turn out to have all just been a terrible and poorly-compensated decade-long dream?

news flash: surnames are (usually) patrilineal

And geneticists are using DNA to uncover relationships in populations all the time. Jobling’s colleague, Turi King, profiled the Y chromosomes of 150 men with random surnames and compared them with 150 men who shared surnames. Unexpectedly, she found that sharing a surname means you are highly likely also to share a Y chromosome.

— Alok Jha, The Adam and Eve of genetics, Salon.com Technology, 2005/4/29

Okay, what am I missing here? Isn’t this, well, obvious? Maybe with extremely common surnames (Smith, Garcia, or Chang/Zheng) the expectation is that there is virtually no relationship at all among those so named, because the names independently developed multiple times. But surely it’s statistically likely that Juan Garcia is more closely related to Tomas Garcia than to, say, Leon Martinez? And in the case of less common surnames, passed down patrilineally, in almost all cases with the actual Y chromosome, wouldn’t we really expect to find a high concordance of common Y chromosomes?