In honor of PZs (hopefully one time) Creationism Museum Blog Carnival, I might as well extend the ID vs ERV series to include what the Young Earth Creationists are saying about ERVs.
What is THE go-to resource for Young Earth Creationism 'science'? Why, AiG, of course! Lets go see what they have to say about ERVs. If you click around on a few, and youre familiar with the 'ID vs ERV' series, Im sure you will be shocked, shocked, dear readers, to notice that Intelligent Design Creationist and Young Earth Creationist claims about ERVs are absolutely identical.
Im sure many of you regular readers can play this game and find AiGs errors on your own at this point, but since this is a Carnival post, Im going to go through several of them for the new readers :)
IDC: "ERVs are good and part of the Designers Plan. Not junk like those stupid Evilutionists think!"
YEC: "ERVs are good and part of Gods Plan. Not junk like those stupid Evilutionists think!"
Lets start with 'Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs)—evolutionary “junk” or God’s tools?'
Once the retrovirus enters a host cell, its RNA genome is made into DNA (through an enzyme the retrovirus carries) and the DNA is integrated into the host genome—becoming a type of endogenous retrovirus, meaning that it is now a part of the genome in that cell.No. No. No. Exogenous retroviruses dont become endogenous when they insert themselves in the genome of some of your cells during an infection. Retroviruses become endogenous when they infect a germ-line cell and are 'transmitted' vertically, thereby having its genome in every last one of the cells of the offspring. Someone getting infected with HIV is not an example of an endogenous retrovirus.
No, not 'purportedly.' They were. This isnt religion, where you cant know The Truth(TM) unless you open your heart to any number of deities. Its science. Dont believe a claim? Look it up yourself. For instance:
Unlike HIV, these “ancient” retroviruses purportedly integrated themselves into the genome long ago and have since accumulated mutations that have rendered them unable to produce infectious, exogenous viruses.
YAY! PubMed works just like Google. Put in some search terms, look up anything you read that you dont believe! Cant access the article? Go to your local public library or university library and they will help you out!
Differences in HERV-K LTR insertions in orthologous loci of humans and great apes.The classification of the long terminal repeats (LTRs) of the human endogenous retrovirus HERV-K (HML-2) family was refined according to diagnostic differences between the LTR sequences. The mutation rate was estimated to be approximately equal for LTRs belonging to different families and branches of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). An average mutation rate value was calculated based on differences between LTRs of the same HERV and was found to be 0.13% per million years (Myr). Using this value, the ages of different LTR groups belonging to the LTR HML-2 subfamily were found to vary from 3 to 50Myr. Orthologous potential LTR-containing loci from different primate species were PCR amplified using primers corresponding to the genomic sequences flanking LTR integration sites. This allowed us to calculate the phylogenetic times of LTR integrations in primate lineages in the course of the evolution and to demonstrate that they are in good agreement with the LTR ages calculated from the mutation rates. Human-specific integrations for some very young LTRs were demonstrated. The possibility of LTRs and HERVs involvement in the evolution of primates is discussed.
Heres a nice example of how Creationist 'science' writers have no idea what theyre writing about, they only know the talking points, thus they dont know when theyve contradicted themselves. This example is particularly funny because the author is attempting to make a joke at the expense of Evilutionists, but the author is the one that looks like an idiot:
...Contrary to being “junk” DNA, HERVs are thought to play at least three major roles...Did you catch that? Mammals gained the function to generate a placenta with an ERV so Creationism is true... but ERVs cant allow a gain of function so Evilution is false. Heads they win, tails we lose.
...It was recently reported that an endogenous retrovirus in sheep was necessary for maintaining pregnancy, as it was important in the formation of the placenta...
...This means that retroviruses jumping in and out of the genome caused changes that were selected for, supposedly resulting in microbes becoming microbiologists. This type of evolution requires a gain of information that is not accomplished by retroviruses jumping around in the genome.
ERVs are a beautiful example of Evolution in Action.
The location of integration sites of transposable elements are used to determine evolutionary relationships: “A specific retroviral integration site shared by two species is indicative of a common ancestor because the likelihood of independent integrations at exactly the same locus (insertional homoplasy) is negligible.”1 Their presupposition of common ancestry is supporting their interpretation of the evidence for common ancestry. Could it also be indicative of a common designer?This is THE Creationist Claim for ERVs. "ERVs dont mean common descent! They mean Common Design!"
No. Its not just the ERVs or their insertion sites. Its also how theyve mutated or been co-opted over the course of time.
Certain areas are predisposed to the insertion of retroviruses. Some retroviruses like to be inserted near actively transcribed genes. Some like to insert near silent genes. Some like to be near regulatory genes. This isnt 'possible', we know this. However, the actual insertion, which base pairs are on the left and right of the insertion, that is random.
It is possible that certain sites are predisposed to the insertion of retroviruses.
Additionally, if two retroviruses happened to insert themselves in the same location, we would be able to tell the insertions apart. The retroviruses themselves would be different (retroviruses love them some mutations!), and they would have mutated differently over a few million years.
Thats a dishonest statement. Young Earth Creationists dont do laboratory research. 'More work needs to be done?' YECs dont do any work at all, especially with ERVs. If you know of one, send him/her my way.
Biblical creationists do not think that HERVs are “junk” DNA, but much work needs to be done to gain a greater understanding of the role of HERVs in the past and present. The difference is our starting point—the Word of God versus the word of man.