Uniqueness of Humans

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on November 10, 2012

ScienceDaily: “Humans, Chimpanzees and Monkeys Share DNA but Not Gene Regulatory MechanismsUniqueness of humans is reflected in the way their genes are regulated.

Protein-coding genes in chimpanzee and human DNA have many similarities. Evolutionists claim this proves common ancestry. For years, scientists have suspected that much so-called “junk DNA” served regulatory functions, and the revelations from the ENCODE1 project have confirmed that “junk” is not really “junk.” But if humans and chimps have so many genetic similarities, why are they so different?

In “Genome-wide comparison of genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in primates,” presented at the 2012 meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, human geneticist Dr. Yoav Gilad showed that most of the differences in genetic expression between humans, chimps, and rhesus monkeys can be explained by a regulatory mechanism that determines the way a genetic blueprint for a protein gets transcribed to RNA. (Genetic instructions for building proteins are copied onto RNA and transported to the protein-manufacturing sites in cells.)

By regulating when, where, whether, and how the genetic recipes for each protein are expressed, therefore, very different results are achieved. Even this regulatory mechanism-called “histone modification”—differs between the species. Gilad reports, “We estimate that up to 70% of inter-species gene expression differences can be accounted for by corresponding changes in transcription factor binding and/or the presence of histone modification marks.”2

So does this mean that all the genetic information to become human, chimp, or monkey already existed in some ape-like ancestor and only had to be regulated in advantageous combinations to produce each sort of evolutionary result? Not at all. First of all, there is no known way by which natural processes could have produced life itself or the increasingly complex genetic information to get to that point in the first place. Secondly, the existence of biochemical and genetic similarities between humans, apes, and monkeys is evidence, not of common ancestry, but of common design.

The real difference would be expected in when the genes are expressed, where they're expressed, why they're expressed, how much they're expressed, and under what conditions they're expressed.

Molecular geneticist Dr. Georgia Purdom of Answers in Genesis explains:

It's not surprising that we see large differences in DNA regulation between humans, chimps, and monkeys. All mammals whether chimps, humans, dogs, or cats all share the same basic bodily functions. Therefore, the genes that encode the information for those functions would need to be very similar. The real difference would be expected in when the genes are expressed, where they're expressed, why they're expressed, how much they're expressed, and under what conditions they're expressed. This difference in DNA regulation obviously plays a major role in the phenotype or characteristics of mammals including humans.

Determining the genetic basis for differences between humans and chimps does not explain the origin of those differences. We share not a common ancestor but a common Designer. God used similar genetic building blocks to produce features needed in similar sorts of organisms. God created each kind of organism and equipped each with the DNA information to reproduce after its kind. That information included both the protein-coding genes themselves and the mechanisms that regulate them to achieve dramatic differences.

We know from the book of Genesis that God did not use one organism as raw material for the next but instead spoke each into existence over the course of a few days. All kinds of land animals were created on the same day as Adam and Eve. Human beings have remarkable differences including a spiritual nature that chimps have never and will never have. Ancestral biology cannot explain the origin of the information for physical and mental differences, much less the spiritual differences. But the Bible does.


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Footnotes

  1. Junk DNA and ENCODE Revisited
  2. www.ashg.org/2012meeting/abstracts/fulltext/f120120247.htm

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.