Examining the Platypus Genetic Code

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BBC News: “Platypus genetic code unravelled” It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the mapping of the genome of the funny, furry duck-billed platypus.

It is interesting to take a closer look at one of God’s strangest creatures, the duck-billed platypus, known for its odd combination of features. What isn’t so thrilling is to read the many evolutionary interpretations of the platypus genome!

“[t]he animal comes from an early branch of the mammal family . . . [h]owever, it lays eggs like a reptile . . . this unique mixture of features is reflected in its DNA.”

The genome was published in the journal Nature by a group of more than 100 scientists from the U.S., U.K., and Australia. The platypus was chosen because of its unusual features—a duck bill, mole eyes, lizard eggs, and beaver tail—Chris Ponting of the University of Oxford’s MRC Functional Genetics Unit half joked. Unsurprisingly, this reflects evolutionists’ beliefs that platypuses are, in a way, at an evolutionary “crossroads” between mammal and reptile.

BBC News reports that the platypus genome shows “[t]he animal comes from an early branch of the mammal family . . . [h]owever, it lays eggs like a reptile . . . this unique mixture of features is reflected in its DNA.” We wonder how much this was just a case of scientists finding what they were already looking for, since Ponting adds that “the genome sequence enabled scientists to look back in time to see what an early mammal would have been like”—in other words, the platypus was already regarded as a primitive mammal.

Louisiana State University’s Mark Batzer explained that “[o]ne big surprise [of the study] was the patchwork nature of the genome with avian, reptilian and mammalian features.” Yet since DNA is an organism’s blueprint for producing different features, and since the platypus does indeed have various bird-like and reptile-like features in addition to the various things that make it a mammal, we shouldn’t be at all surprised to find that that’s what the platypus genome codes for! In a way, this would be similar to finding a house that combined several styles of architecture that helped it match its landscape better, then looking at the house’s blueprint and discovering the same combination of architectural styles on the blueprint. Was it a strange conflation of styles by the errors of a photocopier, or was it the genius of a skillful architect who wanted to perfectly match the house to a unique environment?


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