Ultra-conservative Elements

There has been some fuss in the ID world about the discovery of ultra-conserved elements.  I don’t mean that they have found 7000 year old tablets with “Uncommon Descent” written on them.  No, it’s the discovery of long sequences of DNA that are the same in humans and rats, despite not appearing to have a function, and having diverged 80 million years ago.

Now a paper has appeared in PLoS Biology.  It describes an experiment where these elements were removed from mice, and had – no effect.  This is a problem for evolutionists – if these sequences have no effect, they should not have stayed the same for such a long time.

As well as the paper describing the work, PLoS has a commentary.  This ends by asking “Why would evolution preserve these noncoding elements if their loss has no significant effect on the viability, fertility, and function of the organism?”  Of course, the writer never thinks that she might be asking the wrong question.  Why do these elements have to be preserved by evolution?  Why can they not be there by design?  Only short-sighted materialists see this as a problem.

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