The Monophyletic vs. the Polyphyletic Origins of Life
(Investigator 170, 2016 September )
A recent discovery that resulted from research completed on paramecium,
single-celled freshwater animals familiar to all zoology students that
has a characteristic slipper-like shape and is covered with cilia, and
the bacterium called Mycoplasma capricolum, has created a major problem
The reason is the discovery has disproved the concept that the DNA
existing in all creatures, plant and animal, from bacteria to mammals,
utilize both the exact same “punctuation” and DNA code.
The reason is because it was widely believed by scientists that all
life had a universal DNA code was due to the recognition that the
chances of life evolving from non-life on earth by chance were so small
that a single origin of life would be the most that one could ever
expect. Thus, all life existing today would have evolved from this
first single cell that evolved the original DNA code. From this cell
all life evolved. Recent research, though, has found that this is not
the case. The DNA code does vary in some life forms.
The four different DNA nucleotides represented by the letters A, T, G,
and C are used to produce the three letter code, each called a codon,
that directs the production of the 20 amino acids used by the body to
manufacture protein. Protein is the basis of all life. It is the main
component of not only most body organs, but also of smooth and striated
muscle, skin, and most all enzymes and hormones. Three codons,
specifically the RNA would be UAA, UAG and UGA, in essence serve as
punctuation marks called stop codons that terminate the assembly of the
protein chain. This protein chain folds-up to make a functional
protein, such as an enzyme or a hormone. Research has recently found
that some life forms do not use the standard code that ordinarily
serves as a stop code. Instead, this code in these organisms produces
an amino acid.
The journal Nature reports that whenever a paramecium’s cellular
machinery reads the standard code (UAG or UAA for a stop code that
terminates the protein chain), instead of functioning as a stop code,
it places the amino acid glutamine into the growing protein chain.
Obviously, it must use another code for the termination code, namely,
in this case, the UGA code. Other researchers have found that some
mycoplasma bacteria also ignore what is normally a stop code — in this
case UGA is translated into an amino acid, and the other two standard
stop codons, UAA and UAG serve as stop codes.
Previous to this, it was believed that the DNA stop code was identical
in all biological organisms because, as noted, it was widely believed
that natural selection evolved the code very early in evolution. Thus,
for this reason Darwinists concluded that all descendants of the first
rudiments of life used the same coding system. Scientists admit they’re
baffled by the discovery of these new eccentric codes. To explain the
code differences, evolutionists postulate that life has evolved
multiple times, a theory called the polyphyletic origin of life, a
major problem considering biologists acknowledge the miniscule
likelihood of life evolving even just once.
The only other possibility is the so-called monophyletic origins
theory, where the original code evolved into different codes. Because
the code is tightly linked to the entire protein production system
including tRNA and mRNA, it is obviously extremely difficult to
envision how one code could evolve into a different code without
jeopardizing the life of the creature.
Evolutionists postulate that, if this change had actually occurred, it
must have occurred very early in the evolution of life. Scientists are
already hypothesizing reasons for these differences, such as an attempt
by some simple creatures to resist the many kinds of viruses that could
have invaded them in their attempt to take over their cellular
machinery, such as how bacteria phages function. Researchers suspect
that, as they probe deeper into the DNA machinery of different life
forms, more variations will be found. As there exist a million or more
species on this planet, and so far the DNA of only a handful of them
have been examined in depth, researchers will likely find that life is
far less closely related at the DNA level than they had once thought.
They will likely find that each different code type requires a separate
creation that produces a code which is distinct, yet similar to, other
living forms. At the most basic level of life, these drastic
differences support a creation worldview more so than evolution by
common descent. Although evolutionists will likely try to utilize their
“scientific imagination” to construct scenarios to explain this
finding, their explanations will obviously be difficult to prove
scientifically. Life may turn out to be far more complex than anyone
has ever imagined; and each new discovery tends to add to the
complexity level and mystery of life.
In a section titled “Eerie Perfection” Cambridge biologist Simon Conway
Morris describes a scientific research program to determine the
optimality of the genetic code and how optimal our code is versus other
possibilities. The other possibilities were figured to be around 10 to
the 18th power, too many to compare. So they randomly selected one
million other possibilities from this set and compared those to the
genetic code. Their conclusion was that only one other code was more
optimal than the [existing] genetic code and that one would not work on
earth. Hence, our code is literally one in a million. Morris says
“Freelund and Hurst have difficulty in keeping the surprise out of
their report.” (Morris, 2004, p. 17)
This fact indicates that genetic research will find the various
different existing DNA codes are optimal for each life form in which
the code is found (Freelund, and Hurst, 1998).
Anonymous. “The NCBI Maintains a Webpage Listing All Known Variant
Nuclear and Mitochondrial Codes.”
Freelund, Stephen J. and Laurence D. Hurst. 1998. The Genetic Code is
one in a Million. Journal of
Molecular Evolution. 47:238-248.
Morris, Simon Conway. 2004. Life's
Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. New York:
Cambridge University Press.
Tsonis, Anastasios A., James B. Elsner, and Panagiotis A. Tsonis. 1997.
“Is DNA a Language.” Journal of
Theoretical Biology. 184:25-29.