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Author Topic:   Adding information to the genome.
Kaichos Man
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 250
From: Tasmania, Australia
Joined: 10-03-2009


Message 1 of 280 (531849)
10-20-2009 8:41 AM


It has been estimated that the size of the functional genome has increased 7.8 fold every billion years. Whether that figure is right or wrong, molecule-to-man evolution certainly requires a steady and substantial nett increase in genomic information.

The occasional point mutation can be "seen" by natural selection, but these generally switch an existing gene on or off, so they don't constitute additional information. So what is the absolute minimum novel genetic structure required to be "seen" by natural selection and added as new information to the genome?

Is it a protein? An enzyme? A gene? What must be created by random processes in order to be seen and conserved by selection?


"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." Charles Darwin
Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Wounded King, posted 10-20-2009 9:28 AM Kaichos Man has responded
 Message 4 by Dr Jack, posted 10-20-2009 9:33 AM Kaichos Man has responded
 Message 10 by Phage0070, posted 10-21-2009 2:42 AM Kaichos Man has responded
 Message 25 by Blzebub, posted 10-21-2009 4:31 PM Kaichos Man has responded
 Message 50 by Briterican, posted 10-22-2009 5:53 PM Kaichos Man has responded

    
Admin
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Message 2 of 280 (531858)
10-20-2009 9:06 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Adding information to the genome. thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

Edited by Admin, : Fix thread name.


    
Wounded King
Member (Idle past 2235 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


(2)
Message 3 of 280 (531861)
10-20-2009 9:28 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Kaichos Man
10-20-2009 8:41 AM


The occasional point mutation can be "seen" by natural selection, but these generally switch an existing gene on or off, so they don't constitute additional information.

This seems like a totally baseless assertion. Most point mutations are neutral, but even those that aren't are rarely null mutations. If you mean that they affect the pattern of gene expression rather than actually rendering the gene inoperable then you are using a concept of information which totally decouples it from the processes which actually produce functional biological variation.

You seem to be saying that there are mutations which can cause phenotypic variation which can be acted upon by natural selection but which do not constitute changes in information. This makes whatever measure of information you are using essentially irrelevant to the concept of evolution.

What must be created by random processes in order to be seen and conserved by selection?

Heritable variation with a phenotypic effect causing a difference in reproductive success, at whatever level that variation is generated. Of course this need not only apply to conserved features since this description equally well encompasses deleterious mutations.

TTFN,

WK

Edited by Wounded King, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-20-2009 8:41 AM Kaichos Man has responded

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Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 245 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 4 of 280 (531863)
10-20-2009 9:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Kaichos Man
10-20-2009 8:41 AM


First you must define information. Really for your argument to mean anything at all you must do this; otherwise you're just playing humpty-dumpty. For the recognised definitions of Information used in Infromation Theory, it is relatively trivial to show mutations can increase information. So what do you mean? Be specific.

The occasional point mutation can be "seen" by natural selection, but these generally switch an existing gene on or off, so they don't constitute additional information.

That's nice. What about the ones that aren't "generally"? Like the mutation that produced chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium (the malaria parasite).

So what is the absolute minimum novel genetic structure required to be "seen" by natural selection and added as new information to the genome?

I don't understand what you mean here? Could you elaborate?

Edited by Mr Jack, : Tag error


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-20-2009 8:41 AM Kaichos Man has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-20-2009 7:24 PM Dr Jack has responded

  
Kaichos Man
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 250
From: Tasmania, Australia
Joined: 10-03-2009


Message 5 of 280 (531988)
10-20-2009 7:06 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Wounded King
10-20-2009 9:28 AM


You seem to be saying that there are mutations which can cause phenotypic variation which can be acted upon by natural selection but which do not constitute changes in information

Which do not constitute a nett increase in information. I think I made that clear.

Heritable variation with a phenotypic effect causing a difference in reproductive success

That's right. But in order for the nett information to increase (as opposed to merely "change")that variation has to be additional to all the other information on the genome. Modifying the function of existing information might give you the effect, but there's no nett increase in information.

at whatever level that variation is generated

Precisely my question. What is the minimum level of new information -not modified existing information- that can cause a phenotypic effect visible to natural selection? A new protein? A new enzyme? A new gene?


"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." Charles Darwin
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 Message 7 by Coyote, posted 10-20-2009 9:28 PM Kaichos Man has responded

    
Kaichos Man
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 250
From: Tasmania, Australia
Joined: 10-03-2009


Message 6 of 280 (531992)
10-20-2009 7:24 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Dr Jack
10-20-2009 9:33 AM


First you must define information. Really for your argument to mean anything at all you must do this; otherwise you're just playing humpty-dumpty

DNA that has, or contributes to, an effect on phenotypic form or function.

That's nice. What about the ones that aren't "generally"? Like the mutation that produced chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium (the malaria parasite).

Are you suggesting that it is this form of mutation that has caused the functional, non-redundant genome to grow 7.8 fold every billion years?

I don't understand what you mean here? Could you elaborate?

The supposedly observed increase in the size of the genome requires the addition of new information. That new information must be created from non-functional DNA (otherwise it is simply modifying existing information). What is the minimal genetic structure that can be randomly assembled from non-functioning DNA that will be visible to natural selection?

Edited by Kaichos Man, : No reason given.


"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." Charles Darwin
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Dr Jack, posted 10-20-2009 9:33 AM Dr Jack has responded

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Coyote
Member (Idle past 247 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 7 of 280 (532021)
10-20-2009 9:28 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Kaichos Man
10-20-2009 7:06 PM


No new information indeed...
Which do not constitute a nett increase in information. I think I made that clear.

You do realize that this "no new information" is a talking point derived from a fundamentalist religious belief in "the fall" don't you? They believe that from perfect creation there is nowhere to go but down.

Unfortunately, this belief in "the fall" is not supported by science, nor is the absolute mandate that there can be no new information in the genome.

Those unsupported religious beliefs would perhaps be more appropriate for one of the Religion Forums rather than the Science Forum.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-20-2009 7:06 PM Kaichos Man has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-20-2009 11:22 PM Coyote has responded
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Kaichos Man
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 250
From: Tasmania, Australia
Joined: 10-03-2009


Message 8 of 280 (532039)
10-20-2009 11:22 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Coyote
10-20-2009 9:28 PM


Re: No new information indeed...
You do realize that this "no new information" is a talking point derived from a fundamentalist religious belief in "the fall" don't you?

From where it is derived is irrelevant. It should be easy to falsify with scientific data.

Unfortunately, this belief in "the fall" is not supported by science, nor is the absolute mandate that there can be no new information in the genome.

Again, if you have the scientific data to support this, the debate is over. Let's see it.

Those unsupported religious beliefs would perhaps be more appropriate for one of the Religion Forums rather than the Science Forum.

Were they unsupported, you would undoubtedly be right.


"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." Charles Darwin
This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Coyote, posted 10-20-2009 9:28 PM Coyote has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Coyote, posted 10-21-2009 12:04 AM Kaichos Man has responded

    
Coyote
Member (Idle past 247 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 9 of 280 (532045)
10-21-2009 12:04 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Kaichos Man
10-20-2009 11:22 PM


Re: No new information indeed...
...if you have the scientific data to support this, the debate is over. Let's see it.

Then the debate is over. Scientists have only to convince other scientists, relying on empirical evidence. That has long since been done.

We don't need to convince creationists who don't rely on empirical evidence in the first place. No amount of empirical evidence will be enough.

Creationists rely, instead, on scripture and "divine" revelation. No amount of scientific evidence will convince a committed creationist of anything outside of scripture and revelation. But that doesn't make it correct. Nor does that detract from what science has learned over the years. (The number of religious beliefs that have been disproved is large, and still growing. Think: global flood, young earth, lightning and other natural disasters caused by angry gods, demons responsible for disease, etc. The list is long but laughable.)

And that's why there are some 38,000 Christian denominations or sects--they don't rely upon empirical evidence to ascertain which, if any, of their beliefs are accurate. When two interpretations or beliefs collide--whamo-splat! You have schism! Another sect or denomination added to the list.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-20-2009 11:22 PM Kaichos Man has responded

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Phage0070
Inactive Member


(2)
Message 10 of 280 (532053)
10-21-2009 2:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Kaichos Man
10-20-2009 8:41 AM


Kaichos Man writes:

So what is the absolute minimum novel genetic structure required to be "seen" by natural selection and added as new information to the genome?


Who cares? It is irrelevant, the genome does not give a rat's ass how "complex" it is. Mutations that reduce complexity and increase survivability are going to be preserved through natural selection just as much as those that increase complexity and increase survivability.

"Complexity" can be preserved through natural selection for completely different reasons. For instance, suppose there is a mutation that causes a long string of random, non-functional DNA to be inserted harmlessly into the genome. This mutation happens to take place in an organism that has a completely different mutation that is simply a modification of existing DNA (no change in "complexity"), but which makes the organism much more likely to survive and reproduce. Behold, natural selection is preserving a lot of completely non-functional DNA, yet increasing "complexity" by your measurement.

That example could have a later organism that deletes the useless DNA, and also has another different survival advantage modification. That would be a decrease in "complexity" and yet natural selection still preserves it.

The question is pointless, nearly meaningless, and completely irrelevant to the issue.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-20-2009 8:41 AM Kaichos Man has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-21-2009 7:07 AM Phage0070 has responded

  
Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 245 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 11 of 280 (532059)
10-21-2009 6:47 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Kaichos Man
10-20-2009 7:24 PM


DNA that has, or contributes to, an effect on phenotypic form or function.

So, you're saying that a section of DNA contains information if and only if it has an effect on phenotypic form or function. Okay. How is that to be quantified? Do we simply count genes that have "an effect"? Or is there a more subtle measure here? One, that would, for example, take notice of a change to DNA that improves or changes it's function?

Are you suggesting that it is this form of mutation that has caused the functional, non-redundant genome to grow 7.8 fold every billion years?

With other forms of mutational events, yes, it accounts for all increase in gene function, however meaningfully measured

The supposedly observed increase in the size of the genome requires the addition of new information. That new information must be created from non-functional DNA (otherwise it is simply modifying existing information). What is the minimal genetic structure that can be randomly assembled from non-functioning DNA that will be visible to natural selection?

According to you, if a gene is copied, and the one of those copies mutates adopting a new function is that an increase in information?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-20-2009 7:24 PM Kaichos Man has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Kaichos Man, posted 10-21-2009 7:18 AM Dr Jack has responded

  
Calypsis4
Member (Idle past 3354 days)
Posts: 428
Joined: 09-29-2009


Message 12 of 280 (532060)
10-21-2009 6:49 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Coyote
10-20-2009 9:28 PM


Re: No new information indeed...
Unfortunately, this belief in "the fall" is not supported by science

The liar.

Genetic entropy.


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Kaichos Man
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 250
From: Tasmania, Australia
Joined: 10-03-2009


Message 13 of 280 (532061)
10-21-2009 6:57 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Coyote
10-21-2009 12:04 AM


Re: No new information indeed...
Then the debate is over. Scientists have only to convince other scientists, relying on empirical evidence. That has long since been done.

Empirical evidence! I can't wait- let's see it.


"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." Charles Darwin
This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Coyote, posted 10-21-2009 12:04 AM Coyote has not yet responded

    
Kaichos Man
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 250
From: Tasmania, Australia
Joined: 10-03-2009


Message 14 of 280 (532065)
10-21-2009 7:07 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Phage0070
10-21-2009 2:42 AM


Mutations that reduce complexity and increase survivability are going to be preserved through natural selection just as much as those that increase complexity and increase survivability.

No-one's disputing this.

Behold, natural selection is preserving a lot of completely non-functional DNA, yet increasing "complexity" by your measurement.

I made my definition of complexity quite clear. An addition of non-functioning DNA is not an increase in complexity. The DNA needs to be functional to the point that it is "seen" by natural selection, and -most importantly- additional to all the original functioning DNA.

The question is pointless, nearly meaningless, and completely irrelevant to the issue.

The question is the issue. I started this thread, remember?


"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." Charles Darwin
This message is a reply to:
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Kaichos Man
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 250
From: Tasmania, Australia
Joined: 10-03-2009


Message 15 of 280 (532066)
10-21-2009 7:18 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Dr Jack
10-21-2009 6:47 AM


So, you're saying that a section of DNA contains information if and only if it has an effect on phenotypic form or function. Okay. How is that to be quantified? Do we simply count genes that have "an effect"? Or is there a more subtle measure here? One, that would, for example, take notice of a change to DNA that improves or changes it's function?

Improving or changing it's function may get a gene "seen" by natural selection, but it isn't going to get you the many-fold increase in coding DNA.

With other forms of mutational events, yes, it accounts for all increase in gene function, however meaningfully measured

It's the "other forms of mutational events" I'm interested in, given that point mutations are not going to generate huge increases in the amount of functional DNA.

According to you, if a gene is copied, and the one of those copies mutates adopting a new function is that an increase in information?

Yes.


"Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." Charles Darwin
This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Dr Jack, posted 10-21-2009 6:47 AM Dr Jack has responded

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