Octopus

Gene Editing

There are three areas of the theory of evolution.

The first is where there is cross-breeding within a species and an external influence diminishes the population of one variety and leaves the other to predominate. This is a change within a species but nothing evolves. It is the natural re-arrangement of previously existing DNA; no new species new is produced.

The second area is where there is are beneficial mutations in the genetic structure that amplify the ability of the altered organisms to survive. Those altered organisms predominate (natural selection) and they do create a separate species. This is classic Darwinian evolution, also called macro-evolution. But there is very little evidence, if any, that can be used to directly support macro-evolution.

The third is where there is an actual genetic change within a species that enables an altered form of that same species to survive better than before. This is an adaptation within a species and it is called micro-evolution. There is clear and ample evidence of adaptation within a species.

What is the cause of this adaption? Darwinists theorize that the adaptation is caused by mutations of particular genes that made changes in the organism and made it better able to survive. If the Darwinists are correct, then adapted versions of organisms of the same species would be evidence of classic Darwinian evolution because more of those changes could result in a different species.

In order to demonstrate the mutation of particular genes, one need only compare the original gene and the improved gene and show that the gene in the improved version is different from the same gene in the original version. This can be done with the gene-mapping techniques now used.

The Garrett and Rosenthal study set out to do exactly that. The subject that they chose to study was a warm water octopus that had adapted to live in the frigid waters of Antarctica.

The tropical version of the octopus cannot survive in frigid waters because the temperature of the water drastically slows the transmission of its nerve impulses. But the same octopus does live in the antarctic. The reason why it can live in the antartic is because it produces a different kind of amino acid. Therefore, if the octopus is a product of Darwinian evolution, a study of the same gene in each octopus will show that they are different because the same gene in the cold water octopus would be a beneficial mutation.

The gene in the warm water octopus produces an amino acid called isoleucine. Whereas the same gene in the Antarctic octopus produces an amino acid called valine. Valine works in cold water because it speeds up the nerve impulses. The gene that produces isoleucine in warm water and valine in cold water is the only relevant difference between to the two octopus.

Garrett and Rosenthal figured that the gene that produces these amino acids will have to be different in each octopus because it produces isoleucine in one octopus and valine in the other octopus. They thought they were going to find proof of natural selection, but they did not. They found that the gene was the same in each octopus. The gene had not mutated.

On the basis of conventional natural selection, we hypothesized that the channels' genes would have evolved mutations to help tune them to their respective environments. Surprisingly, the primary sequences encoded by the two genes were virtually identical.11

But if the genes were identical, how could they produce different amino acids? How can a gene for isoleucine produce valine instead?

The answer to that question effectively closes the lid on evolution for anyone whose mind is willing to look only at the evidence and not at theology.

A gene is a section of DNA that contains a code that the cell uses to produce a molecule of a particular kind of amino acid. In order to make the amino acid, the cell makes a copy of that section of the DNA (the gene) and then it uses the copy to produce the amino acid. So, how could the code for lsoleucine produce valine?

The Garrett and Rosenthal study discovered that there is a molecular mechanism inside the cell that takes the RNA copy that is normally used to produce isoleucine and reprograms it to produce valine.

[T]he transcribed messenger RNAs are extensively edited, creating functional diversity. One editing site, which recodes an isoleucine to a valine in the channel's pore, greatly accelerates gating kinetics by destabilizing the open state.12

How does this work? The cells of the octopus make a copy of the isoleucine gene for the purpose of producing a molecule of isoleucine. This copy is called RNA and this copying is a natural occurrence in all cells. The isoleucine RNA is not isoleucine itself but instead it is an arrangement a series of 4 different molecules that express a code that is used elsewhere to produce the isoleucine molecule.

But embedded in the octopus cells is a chemical machine that takes the isoleucine RNA and re-programs it to produce valine instead. That means that there is a chemical machine that modifies both the content and the arrangement of the molecules that produce isoleucine so that they produce valine instead. So here is a mechanism that moves molecules of RNA around to re-code it. See Garrett, S. and J.J. C. Rosenthal. 2012. RNA Editing Underlies Temperature Adaptation in K+ Channels from Polar Octopuses. Science, 334 (6070): 848-851).

The molecular engine and whatever or whoever created it had to:

  1. Know the DNA coding language generally;
  2. Know that the “fix” for the warm-water octopus is valine;
  3. Know in advance the code for isoleucine so it could recognize which RNA it is going to re-code;
  4. Know in advance the code for valine so it could recode the gene for valine;
  5. Have the mechanism in place to be able to physically move or replace the molecules of a gene;
  6. Know in advance which molecules to move and which molecules to replace in order to change the code for isoleucine into the code for valine;
  7. Know when the water was cold enough to require it to be done.

All of this would be wholly useless to the survival of arctic octopus unless it were all in place and operational. So none of this can be incremental changes over generations.

This demonstrates that not all genome changes occur at random and that cells produce specific mechanisms to optimize their genome in response to the environment.13

How complicated it this recoding?

The mRNA code for isoleucine has 9 letters (ATT ATC ATA). The mRNA code for valine has 12 letters (GUU GUC GUA GUG), so the editing engine changes ATT to read GUU, changes ATC to read GUC, changes ATA to read GUA and then adds GUG on the end. So, 18 molecules have been changed.

Evolutionists believe that accidental mutations and survival of the fittest created a chemical machine that knows how to move and replace 18 particular molecules in order to re-code a gene to produce a different amino acid.

That belief borders on the absurd.

In order to believe that, one must decide that under no circumstances will a Creator be acknowledged. No amount of complexity is sufficient. 90000 chemical formulas inscribed into a molecule? All accidental beneficial mutations. Ten trillion organized electrical connections that produce thought? Accellerated evolution (two connections every minute) for millions of years. Chemical machines that move molecules around pursuant to a pre-defined non-physical code? Pure accident and dying animals is the only permitted explanation.

On the other side? Similarities between species? Common traits? Apparent progressions in an incomplete fossil record? There are various explanations for these observations. They do not come near to explaining the wonders that are common knowledge in today's world.

But evidence is not necessarily relevant:

Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory…we would still be justified in preferring it over rival theories [Creationism]. Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (NY Norton Publishing, 1986), page 287.

Science is supposed to be wholly objective, but there is no objectivity in this statement.

No matter what the evidence is, the evolutionist will never acknowledge that there is a Creator. Not because there is no evidence of the Creator, but because the Creator is not permitted to exist.

In view of the weight of the evidence against evolution and vapid statements such as the one quoted above, one must wonder whether an underlying intent of many who advocate evolution is not science at all, but rather to obscure the existence of the Creator.

If not, then why is the bare possibility of a Creator excluded in every article? Why is only one side ever shown? Where are the substantive explanations as to how millions of extremely fortunate unobserved beneficial mutations could produce these wonders when there is practically no evidence of beneficial mutations actually occurring? Why?