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No. 8: Fall 1979

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The Importance Of Nonsense

One of the greatest surprises of modern molecular biology has been the discovery of "split genes" in higher forms of life. In the chromosomes of lowly bacteria, genes march along one behind the other, but in more complex organisms the genes are separated by segments of genetic material that apparently have nothing to do with the manufacture of protein. Because there seems no need for these inserted jumbles of genetic information, they are characterized as "nonsense." But evolutionists insist that this nonsense must have some survival value or it wouldn't be there!

Present speculation is that the nonsense segments separate mini-genes that contain the blueprints for assembling well-defined parts of proteins that possess specific functions. To illustrate, the main part of the immunoglobulin molecule has four functional parts (one for interacting with cell membranes, another that functions as a hinge, and so on). Lo and behold, the immunoglobulin gene consists of four mini-genes separated by three segments of nonsense. The suspicion is that the evolution of higher life forms has been accelerated by keeping these prefabricated, functionally oriented mini-genes apart and shuffling them as integral units. The shuffling of entire functional elements rather than smaller bits and pieces of genetic information might speed up organic evolution.

(Lewin, Roger; "Why Split Genes?" New Scientist, 82:452, 1979.)

From Science Frontiers #8, Fall 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987