Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ID vs ERVs-- Part Two: Tandem Repeats

How does UD do it? How do they fit so much crap into a single post? Uuuuuuuugh! Its going to take me forever to clean this up! But, Im ERV. If anyone is going to clean up a UD ERV crapfest, its me. So Im going to hack at this bit by bit.

Find the wrong statements:

Richard Dawkins: 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.

This ones not false. Tandem repeats certainly arent pseudogenes. They definitely can screw things up, they can definitely change things.
So why does UD say Dawkins is a liar for this statement? They reference a PLOS study from 2006 that says tandem repeats are methylated. Duh. And that they play a part in siRNA. Again, duh. Um, okay, UD also references a PNAS study from 2006, again saying that tandem repeats play a role in siRNA. Well, I suppose you can say that our genome has co-opted the fact that tandem repeats are often methylated to help regulate protein coding genes, thus they are 'used by the body itself'.
But what Dawkins said is not incorrect. "WAIT!" you readers say again, "You just said the genome uses tandem repeats! Hes wrong!" Why am I saying 'Duh' to this stuff, and Dawkins appears to be oblivious to this information? Because Dawkins made this statement in 1997 or 1998. It is now, hmm, 2007. Unlike Creationism, real biological research moves at the speed of light. 1998 biology is a completely different world from todays biology.
Why the fuck didnt UD point this out? Who, exactly, are the liars again?

Pandas Thumb: Tandem Repeats are a class of repetitive DNA unique in every individual, which is why they are used in DNA forensic evidence, etc. … Talk Origins also has this to say about Tandem Repeats: “scientists view tandem repeat sequences as resulting from accidental DNA duplications.”

Um, okay, thats not incorrect at all. Not one damn thing is incorrect about that statement.

UD: These research finding show that, far from being junk, Tandem Repeats have important functional roles in the genome. More interestingly, the unique copy number in individuals seems not to be caused by random mutations, but rather by a built-in program that occurs during the combination of male and female DNA. While children will tend to inherit Tandem Repeat numbers similar to those of their parents, this variable component makes every child unique. The fact that Tandem Repeats are so well correlated to racial classifications shows that they have a role in determining what each individual looks like. Tandem repeats appear to be the major factor in what determines the size of your nose, the amount of body fat you have, your height, skin color, etc.

Oh, well then! Tandem repeats arent extended by duplications, they occur during a 'program that occurs during the combination of male and female DNA'. How, do you suppose then, that CAG extended in the first place, in Huntingtons patients? Magic? Magic is how you increase CAG repetitions? Not mutation? Magic? Fantastic. Wrong.
Here is my favorite claim, though-- UD goes from 'tandem repeats are associated with DNA methylation and siRNA' to 'tandem repeats are why black people are black.' ROFL! Thats an impressive hop-skip-and-jump! Dont suppose they have anything to back that up? Why didnt they link to it? Same reason why they didnt link to Dawkins' quote? Ummhmm.

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