Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA, located in the mitochondria of the cell and not the nucleus) is usually found in a ring shape, but in the tube anemone, it’s found in linear fragments. And the tube anemone now holds the record for the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal, with 81,000 base pairs. In comparison, humans have around 17,000 base pairs. A popular science article reporting on this new research says, “The mitochondrial DNA of the tube anemone, or Ceriantharia, is a real head scratcher, from its unexpected arrangement to its previously unimagined magnitude.”
The tube anemone now holds the record for the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal, with 81,000 base pairs. In comparison, we have around 17,000 base pairs.
One scientist involved with the study said,
These ancient animals have simple behavior and simple anatomy, and so we've thought of them as fairly simple creatures until now. But their biology is quite complicated. The genomes of these tube anemones may be more dynamic than those of more-complex and more-recent animals like snails, insects and vertebrates.
The discovery of the linear structure of the mitochondrial DNA is puzzling the researchers because of their evolutionary presuppositions. They now must figure out why the mitochondrial DNA in such a “simple” animal is so different and so much larger than any other animal.
Of course, tube anemones did not evolve—their complex DNA shouldn’t cause researchers to scratch their heads in an attempt to explain its origin. It should cause them to marvel at the creativity and surprising complexity of the Creator God who made tube anemones on day five of creation week. Romans 1 is right—we are without excuse if we suppress the truth of the Creator.
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.