Sunday, April 28, 2013

ICR Ph.D Hides the Facts About Human and Chimp Genes.

In the May 2013 edition of ICR's Acts&Facts newsletter Dr. Jeffrey Tomkins (Ph.D in Genetics from Clemson University) makes the claim that human and Chimp DNA are about 70% similar.  Now this is a much lower number than commonly cited, and his reference for this result is a paper he authored in February in Answers Research Journal.  Yep, his only 'evidence' is a self authored paper in a non peer reviewed journal.  From my brief review of the paper it appears his conclusion is based on comparing the alignment of 200-400 base pair lengths in several human & chimp chromosomes.

The calculated similarity between human and chimp genes is very dependent on the analysis method.  The commonly cited 98% similarity is based on gene coding regions.  Depending on the gene region, chromosome analyzed, and technique (number of base pairs used for comparison) one can generate about any number desired.  For example, if we compare number of completely similar chromosomes  then the percent similarity is 0%.  Dr. Tomkins has rigged the method to create a lower than commonly cited number.

But, this is not the biggest issue with his article.  In his article discussing the similarity of human and chimp genomes to America's non-genetic expert evangelicals he fails to mention any of the following features of the human and chimp genomes:
- Percent similarity of genes, and conserved regions (>98%)
- Similarity of gene order and chromosome structure.
- Chromosome count and evidence for Chromosome 2's fusion in humans complete with vestigial centromeres and telomeres.
- Shared ERVs.
- Shared pseudogenes.

Instead of a meaningful review of the structure and evidence of common ancestry within the human and chimp genome's Dr Tomkins only provides a similarity percentage that is contrived to mislead the uneducated.

Please, go research these unmentioned features of our genes.  Spend 30 minutes on the web or reading some basic Biology text books.  A great popular level book coving these topis is Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA by Danial Fairbanks.  If you don't understand the Chromosome 2 story you should.  And you won't find it in Acts&Facts.