A fascinating post on the intelligent design debate crossed my desk today...the more we think we know, the less we discover we really know:
FROM THE EVOLUTION NEWS WEBSITE
Evolutionists have long cited pseudogenes as a type of "junk" DNA that demonstrates an unguided evolutionary origin of the genome. Richard Dawkins typifies this view:
Genomes are littered with nonfunctional pseudogenes, faulty duplicates of functional genes that do nothing, while their functional cousins (the word doesn't even need scare quotes) get on with their business in a different part of the same genome. And there's lots more DNA that doesn't even deserve the name pseudogene. It, too, is derived by duplication, but not duplication of functional genes. It consists of multiple copies of junk, "tandem repeats", and other nonsense which may be useful for forensic detectives but which doesn't seem to be used in the body itself. Once again, creationists might spend some earnest time speculating on why the Creator should bother to litter genomes with untranslated pseudogenes and junk tandem repeat DNA.
Sounding much like Dawkins, Francis Collins and Karl Giberson discuss pseudogenes to argue that is "not remotely plausible" that "God inserted a piece of broken DNA into our genomes." (Karl W. Giberson and Francis S. Collins, The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions, p. 43 (InterVarsity Press, 2011).)
But are pseudogenes actually "nonfunctional ... faulty duplicates ... that do nothing" (Dawkins) or "broken DNA" (Giberson and Collins)? Consider the abstract of a new review article in the decidedly non-pro-ID journal RNA which sounds decidedly different from atheistic evolutionist Dawkins and theistic evolutionists Giberson and Collins:
Pseudogenes have long been labeled as "junk" DNA, failed copies of genes that arise during the evolution of genomes. However, recent results are challenging this moniker; indeed, some pseudogenes appear to harbor the potential to regulate their protein-coding cousins. Far from being silent relics, many pseudogenes are transcribed into RNA, some exhibiting a tissue-specific pattern of activation...(read the rest here)