20 November 2003: Conserved Non-Genic Sequences What'sNEW
There are about 60,000 CNGs in the human genome, about twice the number of coding genes — Mark Johnston and Gary D. Stormo (1)
They are under a stronger selective pressure than other functional genomic elements — Emmanouil T. Dermitzakis et al. (2)
A team of seven geneticists have found something amazing in the genomes of humans and at least twelve other mammals, "conserved non-genic sequences" (CNGs) of unknown function that are better conserved than genes, and twice as abundant.
It was already known that there are sequences outside of genes that are well-conserved between the human and mouse genomes. Untranslated regulatory sequences need to be conserved, for example. But regulatory sequences have more error tolerance than genes, not less. The faithfulness of conservation which this study observed in the CNGs is unprecedented. The most highly conserved ones have a nucleotide substitution rate, across the studied mammals, that is less than half that of protein-coding genes. In some examples, like the 100-nucleotide sequence shown below (2: Supplement), the match was almost too perfect, as if cross-contamination had occurred during PCR in the lab. But corroboration also comes from the dog genome that was sequenced elsewhere. "These findings imply that the CNGs are subject to a very strong and continual selective constraint, enabling them to remain largely unchanged for as long as 300 million years" (1).
Another surprise is the high number of the CNGs. Extrapolating from the human chromosome analyzed, the geneticists estimate that humans have over 65,000 of them, about twice the estimated number of human genes. Another multispecies comparison that employed different methods found a similar number.
The size of the CNGs is not readily apparent from the new article, but an earlier one by members of the same team (3) gives the actual sequences of all 2262 unknown blocks on human chromosome 21. Viewing them, we estimate those CNGs to have mean size of 100 to 150, and a maximum size of about 1,000 nucleotides.
Studies of more primitive species did not lead darwinists to anticipate this finding. "The CNGs in mammalian genomes are much more extensive and more highly conserved than anything seen in yeast, even though the evolutionary time separating [the studied] mammals... is longer (by a factor of at least 3) than that separating the different yeast species" (1).
For darwinism the CNGs are a conundrum — highly conserved sequences with no known function. Well, they must have a function, but what is it? And how could they have been gradually composed, and yet so tightly constrained?
In cosmic ancestry, new genetic programs must first be horizontally acquired and then installed. The operating software for a species capable of acquiring and installing new genetic programs would probably include a lot more than the transcribed genes. Some of this high-level software would probably need very precise encoding.
In cosmic ancestry, the CNGs themselves would have been horizontally acquired as well. The new data even seem to support that alternative according to criteria we stated in April 2002: "If a new genetic program arrives by the strong panspermia process, intervening species should possess either nearly identical versions of it... or nothing similar..." (4). These CNG's are even more nearly identical, among species from mice to humans, than we would have guessed.
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25 Jan 2013: Many of our genes have no obvious relatives or evolutionary history. So where did they come from? (Also cites two references above.)
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19 Nov 2011: Where do new genes come from?
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23 Jul 2010: The cell, and indeed evolution, can dial up these microRNAs very flexibly in different cells to address various targets, and they only need one protein complex to come and do the job.
Research team finds important role for junk DNA by Kitta MacPherson, News at Princeton, 20 May 2010.
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Gregory E. Sims comments by email, 21 Oct 2009.
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Scientists Discover Parallel Codes In Genes, ScienceDaily.com, 9 Feb 2007.
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6 Oct 2006: Once dismissed ...'jumping genes' are now regarded as major players ....
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NoncodongDNA.com, owned and operated by Ryan Taft.
Marcello Nóbrega et al., "Megabase deletions of gene deserts result in viable mice" [abstract], p 988-993 v 431, Nature, 21 Oct 2004. "Some of the deleted sequences might encode for functions unidentified in our screen...."
3 June 2004: Knockout mice leave ultraconserved regions unexplained.
7 May 2004: Ultraconserved elements.
16 Apr 2004: The rat genome has been sequenced.
Tanita Casci, "Functional oases in genomic deserts" [text], p 930-931 v 4, Nature Reviews Genetics, Dec 2003.
2003, November 20: In mammals, CNGs are more numerous and better conserved than genes — our original announcement of this new page, with additional information.
Marcelo A. Nobrega et al., "Scanning Human Gene Deserts for Long-Range Enhancers" [pdf], p 413 v 302, Science, 17 Oct 2003.
1. Mark Johnston and Gary D. Stormo, "Heirlooms in the Attic" [summary], p 997-999 v 302, Science, 7 Nov 2003.
2. Emmanouil T. Dermitzakis, Alexandre Reymond, Nathalie Scamuffa, Catherine Ucla, Ewen Kirkness, Colette Rossier and Stylianos E. Antonarakis, "Evolutionary Discrimination of Mammalian Conserved Non-Genic Sequences (CNGs)" [abstract], p 1033-1035 v 302, Science, 7 Nov 2003.
3. Emmanouil T. Dermitzakis, Alexandre Reymond, Robert Lyle, Nathalie Scamuffa, Catherine Ucla, Samuel Deutsch, Brian J. Stevenson, Volker Flegel, Philipp Bucher, C. Victor Jongeneel and Stylianos E. Antonarakis, "Numerous potentially functional but non-genic conserved sequences on human chromosome 21" [abstract], p 578-582 v 420, Nature, 5 Dec 2002. (See Supplement.)
4. Tom Ray and Brig Klyce, "New genetic programs in Darwinism and strong panspermia" [on this website], 7 Apr 2002.