Whale-specific mutations or natural genetic engineering?

24 November 2013 1:00 pm

Excerpt: An international team has decoded the genomes of four minke whales, a fin whale, a bottlenose dolphin, and a finless porpoise, comparing these cetaceans’ genes to the equivalent genes in other mammals.

Journal article abstract excerpt: Our analysis also identified whale-specific mutations in genes…

My comment: Earlier this year, Chelo et al reported that no experimental evidence suggests mutations are fixed in the DNA of organized genomes of any species, and they found no indication of fixed mutations in C. elegans. I’m not sure what experimental evidence for the whale-specific mutations in genes is reported here. Isn’t natural genetic engineering more likely to be responsible for what would be typically be attributed to epigenetic effects of the sensory environment in other species? The report of de novo assembly of the minke whale genome associated with mutations and with amino acid changes seems inconsistent with what occurs in other species.

In other species, the biophysical constraints of thermodynamics and organism-level thermoregulation link nutrient uptake to natural genetic engineering via the amino acid changes reported in the cetacians’  genes. There is no experimental evidence to support mutation-driven evolution in other species. Instead, amino acid substitutions are readily linked to species differences in morphology and behavior via the nutrient-dependent species-specific pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction. Could it be that the whale-specific mutations are simply associated with the amino acid substitutions buy not whale-specific mutations? Are deer like this one on their way to the de novo assembly of giraffe-specific mutations?


Author: James Kohl

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