Monday, 2 June 2014

Universal Genetic Code – Another Darwinian Icon Falls

When it comes to genetics, stop does not always mean stop. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Evolutionist Karl Giberson lamented that 2013 was a terrible year for evolution. It seems that 2014 is on its way to becoming an even worse year for dogmatic Darwinians.

Richard Dawkins, for instance, has used the universality of the genetic code as an argument for evolution.

A recent paper in Science busted this icon:

The canonical genetic code is assumed to be deeply conserved across all domains of life with very few exceptions. By scanning 5.6 trillion base pairs of metagenomic data for stop codon reassignment events, we detected recoding in a substantial fraction of the >1700 environmental samples examined. We observed extensive opal and amber stop codon reassignments in bacteriophages and of opal in bacteria. Our data indicate that bacteriophages can infect hosts with a different genetic code and demonstrate phage-host antagonism based on code differences.”

Conserved is evo-speak for no change. Stop codons are three-letter words that instruct the ribosome to stop making a particular protein.

The researchers noticed that sometimes stop might actully mean go. Genetic codes turned out to be much more varied than they had assumed.

And Darwinians lost an icon.


Ivanova, Natalia N. et al. 2014. Stop codon reassignments in the wild. Science 344 (6186): 909–913 (23 May).