Monday, September 10, 2007

The Amazing Toxic Asexual Bunny Mutation Simulator

Lest any of you get the impression that I am a one-trick pony, and write on nothing but the Bible, I'm linking to an essay I guest posted over at Telic Thoughts.

As a Computer Scientist, I never was terribly impressed by the notion of "junk DNA". The idea that 90% of our DNA has no function is counter-intuitive at best. The human genome already seems to be surprisingly small to specify all the information required to describe how to build a human being from a single cell (implying to me some pretty good compression), and further reducing this to the information content of Microsoft Office is not what I would expect. But then again, life isn't always intuitive. Stranger truths have been found in nature, so I suppose we need to keep an open mind.

Then I remembered that we have around 96% genetic similarity to the chimpanzee - meaning large chunks of our genome can be matched up with chunks of the chimp genome almost exactly. These things seem completely at odds to me. If a portion of the genome is junk, than there should be no selective pressure to keep this portion the same. In fact, there may be a functional advantage in removing it altogether (the organism can get by with less nucleotides in its cells). Over 5 million years, it certainly feels like these junk sections would become completely scrambled, rather than maintaining almost total similarity.

So, what better way to demonstrate this than with the clear irrefutable scientific proof of a toxic asexual bunny mutation simulator?

Read the entire essay at Telic Thoughts.

Hah! I love it!
I have a B.S. in Biology, and the whole "junk DNA" theory has always bothered me for the same reasons you give. I have thought that it's indicative of the arrogance of today's scientists that we can't simply label "junk DNA" as an as-yet-unsolved-mystery.

I didn't know you were a biology major. Cool!

Telic Thoughts is a great site - I highly recommend it for those interested in this sort of thing.

I have provided some additional data with my own not-so-fluffy Killer Rabbit evolutionary simulation. See this discussion on Telic Thoughts.

Here is another view of natural selection's effects.

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