Coelacanth Fish Genome Undermines Evolution Industry

Coelacanth Genome ProjectThe long-awaited genome analysis for one of the most infamous fish in evolution history, the coelacanth, was published last week by lead scientists Chris T. Amemiya of University of Washington, and Jessica Alföldi from MIT and Harvard in the prestigious journal Nature.  

The coelacanth, first described in 1839 by Louis Agassiz at Harvard University, has played a pivotal role in the history of evolution. Based on the early fossil evidence, the coelacanth had long been thought to be an extinct evolutionary link in the transition between the fish and amphibians, also known as tetrapods. The coelacanth was touted as a fin-to-limb transition link.

Nearly 100 years later, in 1938 in a catch off South African coast Marjorie Latimer is credited for announcing the discovery of the 120 pound “five foot long, a pale mauvy blue with faint flecks of whitish spots”−a live coelacanth. The genus was later named Latimeria in her honor. The discovery was considered one of the most notable zoological finds of the twentieth century.

The new genome evidence published in the article entitled “The African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution” sponsored by the Broad Institute Coelacanth Genome Project further muddles with the once ubiquitous textbook darling of the evolution industry.

Rather than finding genetic “slight, successive” changes through natural selection as advocated by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species, the evidence points to genetic stasis and to the mosaic uniqueness of the coelacanth.

Starting with the discovery of the live coelacanth in 1938, the evolutionary problems began emerging even long before the coelacanth genome could be investigated. Contrary to what had long appeared in the fossil record to be an intermediate between a fin and a limb, the coelacanth hind-fin turned –out to be simply a hind-fin and not the ever elusive fin-to-limb transitional link as predicted by Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The discovery that coelacanth reproduction, unlike most fish, amphibians and reptiles, is through live-births and not through the fertilization of external, eggs further stymied efforts to align the scientific evidence to the standard theory of evolution through “slight, successive” changes.

Equally challenging for the evolution industry was the soft anatomy of the internal organs. In 1974, paleoichthyologist Barbara Stahl concluded in Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution, “The modern coelacanth shows no evidence of having internal organs preadapted for use in a terrestrial environment.”

Distinguished vertebrate paleontologist Edwin Harris Colbert, curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, in 1991 noted: “Despite these similarities, there is no evidence of any Paleozoic amphibians combining the characteristics that would be expected in a single common ancestor.”

By 1994, investigator James P. Bogart of the University of Guelph in Canada to uncover that the coelacanth had 48-chromosomes, unlike the of coelacanth’s closest relative, the lung-fish, with only 46-chromosomes. The coelacanth differs from the lungfish in terms of the number and the appearance of the chromosomes; the chromosomes are considered to be of a different karyotype.

Since humans have only 23-chromosomes, the evolutionary concept of increasing complexity between the coelacanth and humans with fewer chromosomes remains an evolutionary enigma.  

Even before Nature published the coelacanth genome data, most ardent Darwinists, including Jerry Coyne, had abandoned the coelacanth as an evolutionary “missing link.” In Why Evolution is True, Coyne never mentions the coelacanth.

The coelacanth genome project uncovered yet more problems. Analyses of genetic sequences demonstrate that the lungfish would be a better fin-to-limb candidate than the coelacanth. The lung-fishis a fresh-water fish only found in Africa, South America and Australia. According to Amemiya and Alföldi, “the lungfish is more closely related to tetrapods.”

In counting the number of coelacanth genes, Amemiya and Alföldi discovered that 50-genes in the coelacanth do not exist in any known tetrapod. Using an evolutionary paradigm, Amemiya and Alföldi simply explained that “they were lost in the tetrapod lineage.” The evidence was unexpected.

More perplexing, Amemiya and Alföldi discovered that the coelacanth “homeobox genes, which are responsible for the development of an organism’s basic body plan, show only slight differences between Latimeria, ray-finned fish and tetrapods; it would seem that the protein-coding portion of this gene family, along with several others and, have remained largely conserved.”

Even the non-coding genetic elements of the genome have been conserved, not evolved, and given the name “conserved non-coding elements” (CNE).

In fact, one CNE Amemiya and Alföldi discovered in the coelacanth, named HA14E1, “is more than 99% identical between mouse, human and all other sequenced mammals, and would therefore be considered to be an ultra-conserved element.”

The molecular evidence from the coelacanth, rather than compatible with Darwin’s “slight, successive” evolutionary changes giving rise to new species, undermines the theory. Molecular evidence demonstrates a mosaic pattern in the design of life, not an evolutionary pattern as expected from Darwin’s theory.  

The long sought after evidence by the evolution industry to find the molecular “missing links” continues to undermine rather than demonstrate scientific evidence for evolution.

Evolution was once a theory in crisis, now evolution is in crisis with diminishing supportive evidence.

Evolution only exists as a philosophy, not as a scientific fact.

25 Responses to “Coelacanth Fish Genome Undermines Evolution Industry”

  • Nathan McKnight:

    Lol. I don’t know where to begin. 😀

  • Jonathan Tyler:

    Humans do not have 23 chromosomes. They have 46 chromosomes. I thought surely this must be some sort of typo until it actually appeared that you were making some sort of case against increasing evolutionary complexity based on it. 48 chromosomes for the coelacanth down to 23 for humans certainly does seem like a great reduction in complexity, but 48 down to 46 chromosomes for humans, not so much. This is especially when that reduction from 48 to 46 parallels the tiny chromosomal difference between humans and our nearest ancestor, the chimps–a difference that is easily bridged through chromosomal fusion, such as in that seen in the case of chromosome 2 in the human genome. Please get your facts straight before presuming to critique an accepted scientific theory in defense of a pet theory of yours (which I presume to be some sort of young-earth creationism or related species). If you’re going to criticize “evolutionists” on the supposed basis of them “not getting the facts straight” you should at least make doubly sure to straighten out yours first. This sort of playing fast and loose with scientific facts in order to score a polemical point or two is precisely what ultimately led me to abandon young-earth creationism in favor of the theory of biological evolution. Pardon my irritable tone, but I’m still really annoyed at being duped for so long by such pseudoscience, even if it was only in my youth.

  • JLAfan2001:

    You forgot to mention the part where they took the DNA portion that codes for legs and inserted them into a mouse embryo. What they found was a whole network responsible for legs, wrist etc. developed. Why would the DNA be in the coelacanth if evolution is not true. Also, the genes did show slight genetic variations as per Darwin’s theory. It’s just that the mutation rate is slower than in other organisms and there is no selection pressure in their environment. Don’t see how this refutes evolution.

  • ruben:

    From fish to frog to prince, Darwin is wrong again.

  • Buddy Briggs:

    Good stuff. Very interesting.

  • Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes giving a total 46 chromosomes. The Coelacanth has a unpaired 48-chromosome karyotype that contains metacentric, subtelocentric, and telocentric chromosomes as well as microchromosomes. This karyotype is unlike those found in lung-fishes but is very similar to the 46-chromosome karyotype of one of the ancient frogs – the Ascaphus truei.

    What we are looking for to support evolution are the “slight, successive” evolutionary changes. So far, evidence from genomes have failed to demonstrate these “slight, successive” changes. As Eugene V Koonin, 2009 in the article entitled “Darwinian evolution in the light of genomics” in the journal Nucleic Acid Research, 37(4)1011-1034, noted “There is no consistent tendency of evolution towards increased genomic complexity.” The evidence from the Coelacanth Genome Project supports Koonin’s conclusions and mine.

  • What we are looking for to support evolution are the “slight, successive” evolutionary changes. So far, evidence from genomes have failed to demonstrate these “slight, successive” changes. As Eugene V Koonin, 2009 in the article entitled “Darwinian evolution in the light of genomics” in the journal Nucleic Acid Research, 37(4)1011-1034, noted “There is no consistent tendency of evolution towards increased genomic complexity.”

    The evidence from the Coelacanth Genome Project supports Koonin’s conclusions and undermines the basic tenet of increasing complexity over long periods of time. This problem is the reasons why evolutionary scientists have been exploring epi-genetic (beyond genetics). It is becoming increasingly clear, genetics cannot explain evolution.

    In the words of National Medal of Science Award winner Lynn Margulis, “Whereas speciation by accumulation of ‘random DNA mutations’ has never been adequately documented.” She adds, ““The real disagreement about what the neo-Darwinist tout, for which there is very little evidence, if any, is that random mutations accumulate and when they accumulate enough, new species originate.”

    Genetics has turned to be more of a problem for evolution – than a solution.

  • Kevin Wirth:

    It’s so nice to see another evolutionary Icon refuted by the pesky evidence. Jonathan Tyler, you can rail all you want over your disdain about the chromosome error, but such rantings clearly avoid the more important issue here, which I guess you just don’t want to admit. Also, it’s nice to see someone else (besides me) citing the work of Barabara Stahl (Vertebrate History: Problems in Evolution). If you’ve never read her book, you should. She provides one of the most honest appraisals of the evidence from an evolutionist I’ve ever read. And though she published her work in the 1980’s it’s still just as good today as it was then.

  • ruben:

    Evolution is a serious crime against the sciences and should be redefined as a felony against scientific law.
    (nuff said…)

  • JLAfan2001:

    “Genetics has turned to be more of a problem for evolution – than a solution.”

    Quite the opposite. Genetics has sealed the deal on proof for evolution. Ever heard of the human to chimp DNA comparison for starters? That confirmed Darwin’s theory that man was descended from a common ancestor with the apes.

  • ruben:

    The coelacanth is a fish and nothing but a fish thats why there’s something fishy about it. Read 🙁http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130417131809.htm)

  • Would recommend reading Evolution, the Extended Synthesis (2010) edited by Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd B Műller and published by The MIT Press. Your comment held a little more credibility 20 years ago, but since then the Modern Synthesis theory has been nearly completely abandoned by geneticists.

    Actually, the prospects of any comprehensive theory of evolution is looking more improbable than ever. In the words of Marc Kirschner and John C Gerhart, “The Modern Synthesis was a great intellectual accomplishment in an important era for evolutionary biology. Viewed today it is neither modern nor much of a synthesis.”

    Today, except in popular media circles a comprehensive theory of evolution is now more remote than ever. Alan Love from the University of Minnesota has come to the conclusion that “a fully unified view of evolutionary processes may be out of reach.”

    While genetics may have naively seemed to “sealed the deal” 20 years ago, today the statement demonstrates woeful ignorance. The Coelacanth Genome Project serves as yet another example of how the scientific evidence that has driven the Modern Synthesis theory to the brink of extinction.

  • tplay:

    It is interesting how you’ve taken the news that genetics confirmed the relationship between coelacanth, lungfish, and all other life.

  • Cubby:

    I’m just glad all you scientists are arguing over this…oh wait…

  • IntelligentAnimation:

    Modern day knowledge regarding genetics are a problem for the “modern synthesis”? Agreed.

    Modern day knowledge regarding genetics are a problem for evolution?

    Quite the opposite.

    Why do we still confuse these two concepts? (evolution and darwinism) Even JLAFan thinks Darwinism means ape to man evolution. Common descent is NOT Darwin’s discovery. All darwin did was to come up with a discredited theory in an attempt to explain what we already knew.

    Evolution is not the same thing as Darwinism.

    Darwin’s theory was completely wrong and we don’t need the coelacanth to prove it.

  • Very good, i like you.And say and say ………. It’s greatttttttttttt……..

  • JLAfan2001:

    “Why do we still confuse these two concepts? (evolution and darwinism) Even JLAFan thinks Darwinism means ape to man evolution. Common descent is NOT Darwin’s discovery. All darwin did was to come up with a discredited theory in an attempt to explain what we already knew.

    Evolution is not the same thing as Darwinism.

    Darwin’s theory was completely wrong and we don’t need the coelacanth to prove it.”

    Do you have any citations from credible sources to back this up? Darwin’s theory was random slight changes passed on to future generations that was selected for their survival advantage. That’s sounds like common descent to me. What was Darwin’s “The descent of man” about then? What are you refering to when you say Darwin’s discredited theory?

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  • Appreciate your comments. The conclusion is one cannot trace an evolutionary path based on genomics. The references are solid.

  • eddy:

    @Jonathan Tyler

    The human genome is the complete set of nucleic acid sequence for humans, encoded as DNA within the 23 chromosome pairs in cell nuclei and in a small DNA molecule found within individual mitochondria. Human genomes include both protein-coding DNA genes and noncoding DNA.More at Wikipedia

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