Coelacanth: Making the Most of an Unevolved Fish

first_img(Visited 209 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The coelacanth genome has been sequenced.  Does it show evidence for evolution?  Only to those with a good imagination.The genome was published in Nature this week.  Science Now put the problem with coelacanth into perspective:The coelacanth isn’t called a “living fossil” for nothing. The 2-meter-long, 90 kg fish was thought to have gone extinct 70 million years ago—until a fisherman caught one in 1938—and the animal looks a lot like its fossil ancestors dating back 300 million years. Now, the first analysis of the coelacanth’s genome reveals why the fish may have changed so little over the ages. It also may help explain how fish like it moved onto land long ago.It may, but then again, it may not.  That’s the challenge facing evolutionists.  Why hasn’t this fish changed under the inexorable power of natural selection for 300 million years?  Why hasn’t it moved onto land?  Why does it still lurk in deep underwater caves, not using those lobed fins for walking?So what’s the reason the coelacanth hasn’t evolved in 300 million years?  Answer: “The coelacanth genes changed at a ‘markedly’ slower rate than those from other animals,” Science Now said, without explaining why this fish escaped a natural law of evolution.  Must be some new kind of law:The slow rate at which the fish’s genes change demonstrates that some animals evolve more gradually than others. The coelacanth looks primitive, but looks are difficult to quantify, whereas DNA sequences are not, Ahlberg says. “The fact that their proteins evolve slowly underscores that there is a real phenomenon going on here.“A real phenomenon, like creation?  Like stasis?  Like falsification of evolution?  Yes, there is a real phenomenon there.  As for how this genome might explain how fish moved onto land, the scientists brought in mighty mouse:The authors located a fragment of DNA within the coelacanth’s genome that is also found in land vertebrates but not in fish without lobed fins, such as tuna, tilapia, and sharks. Because researchers cannot study live coelacanths in the laboratory, they inserted the fragment into a mouse embryo in order to learn what it does. The fragment activated a network of genes that forms bones in wrists, ankles, fingers and toes. Although it’s not yet clear what the DNA fragment’s function is within coelacanths, the authors suggest that it was key to forming the ends of limbs that helped a fishlike animal crawl out of the water.But the genes are HOX genes, upstream switches that control downstream development.  They are not going to switch on a radius, ulna, wrist, or digits if the downstream genes aren’t there for them.  These same HOX genes didn’t help the coelacanth develop limbs or crawl out of the water for 300 million years.  So where is the purported “fishlike animal” where it did happen?  The researchers don’t know what these genes do in coelacanths.  If they did nothing, wouldn’t selection purge them instead of maintaining them for no good purpose?  It’s not clear how this experiment helps the evolutionary story.Chris Woolston, writing for Nature about the genome, quoted one of the researchers (Chris Amemiya) saying, “The coelacanth is a cornerstone for our attempt to understand tetrapod evolution.”  Woolston concurred that coelacanth is a living fossil, but he didn’t add anything new to the evolutionary tale, except to debunk an old one:Ending one long-standing argument, analysis of the coelacanth genome clearly shows that it is not the closest living fishy relative to tetrapods, Amemiya says: that honour belongs to the lungfish. However, he adds, the lungfish genome is unlikely to be sequenced any time soon because it is much larger and more complicated than that of the coelacanth.How that helps the evolutionary story is also unclear: a more complicated, larger genome is ancestral to tetrapod genes?  Why would that be?  Woolston described how slow the genome evolution has been between two separated populations of the fish:Scientists already had hints of the coelacanth’s sluggish evolution. In a 2012 study, researchers in Japan and Tanzania compared the DNA of the African and Indonesian coelacanths. Specifically, they looked at HOX genes, which help to guide embryonic development…. Even though the two species separated, by one estimate, perhaps 6 million years ago, their genes are remarkably similar. For these particular genes, the difference between the two species of coelacanth was about 11 times smaller than that between the HOX genes of humans and chimps, two species that parted ways perhaps 6 million to 8 million years ago.The paper says they are 99.73% similar.  To explain this non-evolution, one of the researchers offered this idea: “It is impossible to say for sure, but the slow rate of coelacanth evolution could be due to a lack of natural-selection pressure,” Kerstin Lindblad-Toh said.  Natural selection is not really a pressure, though.  It’s only like a bumper in a pinball game, not one of the paddles operated by the mind of the player.  Woolston said that transposable elements, a form of non-coding DNA, have moved around, but Amemiya quickly added that their role in evolution is “speculative” and its significance is not clear.So even though the genome paper said that coelacanth DNA is “a blueprint for understanding tetrapod evolution,” very little evidence supporting tetrapod evolution was offered.  “The slowly evolving coelacanth” was a major subsection of the paper.  Their last sentence provided only wishful thinking: “Further study of these changes between tetrapods and the coelacanth may provide important insights into how a complex organism like a vertebrate can markedly change its way of life.”That was the 7th use of “may” in the paper, along with 5 instances of “suggest.” Evidence for positive selection was also put off into the future: “A closer examination of gene families that show either unusually high or low levels of directional selection indicative of adaptation in the coelacanth may provide information on which selective pressures acted, and which pressures did not act, to shape this evolutionary relict.”  By “evolutionary relict,” they really mean something that didn’t evolve for 300 million years.Nevertheless, the news media jumped onto the meme that the coelacanth genome “might” provide insight into evolution.  The BBC News said, “The work also shed light on how the fish was related to the first land-based animals” (but it wasn’t related, the researchers had admitted).  PhysOrg had a clever way to spin-doctor the anti-evolutionary evidence: it said the genome provided “Unexpected insights from a fish with a 300-million-year-old fossil record.”  National Geographic focused on the notion that this fish “evolved more slowly” than other animals.  Live Science used the power of suggestion in its headline, “Fish DNA Makes Limbs Sprout in Mice,” even though the HOX genes studied are far upstream of limb formation and have nothing to do with arm bones, wrists and fingers in a fish.None of the media recognized that the evidence contradicts evolutionary theory, even though the coelacanth, with its lobed fins, had been promoted as Exhibit A for evolution by Darwinists before one was found swimming in the Atlantic in 1938.If lies and misdirection were physical crimes, evolutionists would be convicted of terrorist bombings.last_img read more

SA’s employment tax incentives boost jobs

first_img16 January 2015Some 270 000 young people had landed jobs since the implementation of the Employment Tax Incentive Act, the National Treasury said on 15 January.National Treasury spokesperson Jabulani Sikhakhane said about 29 000 employers had made use of the incentive. It came into effect in 2014, after the law was passed in December 2013.“Information received from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) indicates that employers have claimed the incentive for at least 270 000 employees up until the end of December 2014,” he said.“National Treasury is working with SARS to use the data that is included in the bi- annual reporting requirements from employers to create a more detailed assessment of the impact of the Act on youth employment. This work is still progressing, but a report will be published when the analysis is complete.”The law was passed in December 2013 after consultations with labour unions and business at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).Sikhakhane said the National Treasury would continue to monitor the implementation of the incentive and may act to change it if there were unintended consequences that were not in line with the objective of creating more employment.“As the incentive progresses and more data becomes available it will be easier to investigate these specific questions and they will be covered in any report that is published on the incentive.” The initial take up of the incentive had been “higher than expected”, which could be seen as a positive start.“More time is required to adequately assess the overall success of the policy as it is dependent on the number of new jobs created and the future opportunities and progression of employees who were hired as a result of the incentive.“The incentive will then be up for review in 2016, where adjustments may be made to improve its impact and effectiveness,” Sikhakhane said.The current phase of the Employment Tax Incentive is aimed at helping young people between the ages of 18 and 29 to get work.“The other two categories of intended beneficiaries have no age restrictions and they are workers employed by companies operating in special economic zones designated by notice by the Minister of Finance in the [Government] Gazette; and workers employed by a business which is part of an industry which has been designated by the Minister of Finance, after consultation with the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Trade and Industry, by notice in the Gazette,” Sikhakhane said.The incentive was first announced by President Jacob Zuma in 2010 against the concerns of an increasing rate of unemployment among young people. Following this announcement, Pravin Gordhan, at the time minister of finance, introduced the incentive in his 2010 Budget.In February 2011, a discussion paper, “Confronting youth unemployment: policy options for South Africa” was published. It was referred to Nedlac for consultation, and the National Treasury said the comments made at Nedlac had been included in the newly approved draft Bill.Source: SANewslast_img read more

60 govt school teachers in U.P. suspended for getting job using fake qualifications

first_imgAs many as 60 government school teachers have been suspended for allegedly using fake B.Ed. degrees to get the jobs, a Uttar Pradesh Education department official said on Wednesday. District Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) Chandra Shekhar said the teachers, all of who were earlier transferred from Mathura to other districts, will also face legal action. The official said over 4,500 government school teachers across the state who got jobs on the basis of fake B.Ed. degrees or other certificates have been identified so far. Efforts are on to take speedy action against them, Mr. Shekhar said. The BSAs of different districts are identifying location of such teachers by sharing information, Mr. Shekhar said, adding that the number may swell further as probe is on.last_img read more

Davis Cup: Aggression is the buzzword for Yuki

first_imgHis talent was never in doubt but injuries have plagued Yuki Bhambri’s promising career. After a lengthy injury lay-off, Yuki has come back strongly with some good victories under his belt and his confidence is certainly high going into Friday’s opening rubber against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.The difference in their rankings is huge with Yuki 90 places behind the 61st-ranked Lajovic, but considering that some of the visiting team’s top players, including Novak Djokovic, are missing, India can surely be positive. Yuki understands the expectations but says he will do what he knows best – play aggressively.”I am match-ready. It will be a tough one but that’s what Davis Cup is all about. My tennis has been good lately. We know it is a tough situation and this is how it is going to be. At the end of the day, we are here to win and not to give just a good fight. If you have to be there in the World Group, you have to beat the top 16, it is simple as that,” Yuki told Mail Today after Thursday’s practice session.In Yuki and Somdev Devvarman, the country’s top-ranked singles player, India have two players who have completely different styles of play. While Somdev believes in grinding down the opponent and is prepared to play a lengthy game, Yuki is someone who likes to be aggressive.Yuki, a former Australian Open junior champion, hopes to bank upon his aggression to counter Lajovic”Davis Cup is about teams and everyone has to contribute. Dusan has done well in the last two years but hopefully, with the crowd behind me, and if I can play as well as I can and physically handle long matches, it will be OK. Playing aggressively is what I know. I will go for my shots for that is how I have learned my tennis. It suits my game with the ball flying and going through the air quicker. I like playing fast and finishing fast. I am a completely different player than somebody like Somdev who would probably give the counter punch and run around,” added Yuki.advertisementAgainst Lajovic, who played the first round of the US Open main draw, Yuki certainly starts as the underdog but the Indian doesn’t mind that.”He is expected to win because is ranked 61st in the world. Being the underdog, it takes some pressure off you. I can play freely with the tie starting from scratch and I don’t have to think about the results of the previous matches of the tie. Yes, I will be nervous. It’s different because you are not playing for yourself here but for your country and your teammates. You have to play five sets so the mindset has to be different as well but I like challenges,” the Indian added.last_img read more