If Intelligent Design advocates are so insistent that most o
If Intelligent Design advocates are so insistent that most of the human genome is functional, why aren't they doing any research like this? Eric Lander's group at MIT devised a way to test whether the thousands of non-conserved, putative protein-coding genes are likely to be spurious or true protein-producing genes. From the paper, here is their rationale: The three most widely used human gene catalogs [Ensembl, RefSeq, and Vega] together contain a total of 24,500 protein-coding genes. It is broadly suspected that a large fraction of these entries is simply spurious ORFs, because they show no evidence of evolutionary conservation. [Recent studies indicate that only 20,000 show evolutionary conservation with dog.] However, there is currently no scientific justification for excluding ORFs simply because they fail to show evolutionary conservation; the alternative hypothesis is that these ORFs are valid human genes that reflect gene innovation in the primate lineage or gene loss in other lineages. Here is what they test: The purpose of this article is to test whether the nonconserved human ORFs represent bona fide human protein-coding genes or whether they are simply spurious occurrences in cDNAs. And here is their conclusion: Here, we provide strong evidence to show that the vast majority of the nonconserved ORFs are spurious. This is how you do science. If ID advocates were serious about science, they would be testing similar hypotheses and publishing them.