New ‘Information’ from Gene Duplication

Creationists are always telling us that what they call “information” cannot arise from evolutionary processes, but can only be provided by supernatural means. For a few examples, see The Cambrian Explosion of Information, and also Ken Ham: Natural Selection Is Not Evolution.

Our favorite rebuttal is How One Gene Becomes Two Different Genes, which describes the development of “antifreeze proteins” in Antarctic eelpout. Now we have another example. The PhysOrg website reports: Gene copies were crucial to evolution of our eyesight. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A new study published in BMC Evolutionary Biology sheds light on the evolutionary origin of vertebrate vision and the specialisations in zebrafish to adapt to rapidly changing light conditions.

This is the paper they’re talking about: Evolution and expression of the phosphodiesterase 6 genes unveils vertebrate novelty to control photosensitivity. You can read it online without a subscription, but we’ll stay with PhysOrg. They say:

Light perception is crucial for the survival of all major animal groups, including our own – the vertebrates. Evolution has favoured selection of the camera eye that arose in the vertebrate ancestor more than 500 million years ago. Light perception takes place in the cone and rod cells of the retina through a set of proteins.

We know that. For the new findings, let’s read on:

Twenty years ago, the first studies of the light receptor proteins in birds indicated that colour vision, mediated by cones, arose before the dim light greyscale vision provided by rods. This hypothesis was recently confirmed by the team led by Abalo and Larhammar in a detailed study on the visual opsin gene family, analysing a broad range of vertebrate species [link to a 2013 paper]. In the current study, the same group presents a detailed analysis on the evolution of the PDE6 proteins, the main effectors of light sensitivity in cones and rods.

What did they find? We continue:

They show that the genes encoding PDE6 arose from ancestral genes that duplicated in the early vertebrate genome doublings, and further expanded in teleosts due to the extra genome duplication that took place in this lineage.

One last excerpt:

Altogether, the study reinforces the evolutionary importance of the two rounds of whole genome duplication that occurred in the vertebrate ancestor and sheds light on the different behaviour of gene duplicates that arose in these events.

Now what? Will creationists stop claiming that what they call “new information” cannot possibly appear without supernatural intervention, or will they finally give up that silly claim? We know the answer, don’t we?

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19 responses to “New ‘Information’ from Gene Duplication

  1. Whole genome duplications (particularly common in plants and some protists), chromosome duplications, single gene duplication (think hemoglobin families), horizontal gene transfer (think bacteria, archaea), exon shuffling and reverse transcribed genes all add “new information” to genomes and have been known for decades. So, nice as it is to know more about the evolution of vision, creationists will still ignore science to posit that information always means intelligence. They are, of course, so much better scientists than the rest of us! Sigh. Thanks SC for this post.

  2. Or when will they tell us how “new information” can appear with supernatural intervention.

    BTW, they don’t seem to be concerned with accounting for disappearance of “information”. Or the appearance of “information” in small degrees. Or, come to think of it, how do they account for the preservation of “information”?

  3. “Now what?”
    No new information. All the information necessary was already stored in the old gene.
    You can’t beat creacrap like that.

  4. Well, you could ask for proof. Creationists may not need it—they have the Bible, after all—but most people would like claims like that one to be supported by actual evidence.

  5. Just incidentally, it turns out that energy and information are related, such that one can be converted into the other. Physicists have demonstrated this for information being transformed into energy, and there’s no reason to believe it can’t work in the opposite direction.

  6. Of course, the evolution-deniers are not speaking of anything convertible to energy. What they are talking about …

  7. docbill1351

    The Tooters reject all definitions from Information Scientists on “information.”

    They reject all of them.

    Instead the Tooters provide this as the definition of information: [edited out]

    That’s it, nothing. When pointed out that a Xerox copy of a page of text creates information, n=2, they rejected that as “trivial.” Gene duplication followed by frame shifting mutations leading to a new enzyme are characterized as a “piffle.”

    Ah, Tooters, so glad to see you all out as Young Earth Creationists these days. So refreshing, so honest.

  8. And EricL with his link excellently demonstrates once again the difference between scientists and IDiots. The first perform experiments, the latter twist language.

  9. Four posts from the Curmudgeon and not a BWAHAHAHAHA! to be seen. It seems you can indeed teach an old dog new tricks.

    Photocopy of a page of text creates information [*Begin Drool Mode*] Oooooooooooooh! n=2 [*End Drool Mode*] Care to back up your claim that the DI rejects all definitions of information, Doc? Now if I were a Tibetan man, I’d wager you can’t.

    The gene duplication research is interesting but what would be really impressive is some solid evidence for the origin of photosensitivity and vision. New, trivial information from already-existing genes is old news. Why are Darwinists always thinking we must be wringing our hands over the latest findings in biology or astronomy in fear our whole worldview will surely collapse if word got out? The Curmudgeon tried this tactic reporting on the discovery of over a thousand new exoplanets implying we “creationists” were beside ourselves with grief knowing the end of our special place in the universe was nigh. Gene duplication, exon shuffling, whole genome duplication (how’s that working out for baker’s yeast?) are all recognized by the Discoveroids.

    Is it me or does all the news that leaves Darwinists breathless with excitement usually involve single proteins? Since much of cellular work is done by complexes of a half dozen or more proteins, if you really want to send the Discoveroids scurrying, report on how the spliceosome arose via gene duplication.

  10. [*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooh! Kevin is back! [*End Drool Mode*]
    So, Kev, since you want to play with the adults, tell us: if “information” addition is impossible via natural means, when, exactly, does The Designer (Blessed Be He!) come in and add it?
    C’mon, Kev! Show us those great insights that ID is known for!

  11. Oh, and Kevin? The solid evidence for photosensitivity and vision is all locked up in those “phony, peer-reviewed, published papers”. Sucks having to take the word of the people who actually did the work, doesn’t it?

  12. Nice, Kevin, nice. Don’t forget about the bacterial flagellum, the blood clotting cascade, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and the paucity of the fossil record.

    You’ve really got the Darwin Lobby on the run, now!

  13. “what would be really impressive is some solid evidence for the origin of photosensitivity and vision.”

    He’s right! I mean, what’s the use of half of an eye? Show me evidence of an animal that has only the top half of the eye? Well, maybe the crocoduck, but besides that!

    Kevin ain’t no kind kin to no monkey, that’s for sure.

  14. “…kin to no monkey….” Nor am I, it seems.

  15. michaelfugate

    The difference, Kevsie, is that scientists (aka Darwinists) will eventually answer your questions, but the pseudoscientists in the ID/creationist movement will never answer ours.

    Just the other day, SC commented on a brief in Science that the ENV covered and tried to twist – it addressed your issues. Simple molecules form networks which can become more complex – this is the way of the world. Magic is not.

  16. KevinC, I like you very much for immediately confirming what I wrote in my previous comment.,

  17. @michaelfugate
    A typical response to your suggestion that “design” is magic would be: “Design is not magic”. And this is a typical avoidance of the question “what is design?”
    If we say that “Intelligent Design” is a form of creationism, we will hear that ID is not based on fundamentalist reading of the Bible. We don’t hear what ID is.
    We will hear that ID is the claim that there is a better explanation than naturalistic evolution. What we will not hear is what that better explanation is: What happens, when and where, so that things turn out as they are (among all of the vast number of possibilities). What is there about the “intelligent designer(s)” that constrains their design so that such-and-such, rather than so-and-so?
    If we point out that design alone is not enough to account for a product, we can expect to hear that ID is not that sort of design. Not what sort of design it is.

  18. Hey Doc, any progress on showing the Tooters reject all definitions of information? No? I didn’t think so.

  19. Any example of how a Tooter defines information which is of use to the rejection of evolutionary biology?