Posted: Jul 31, 2019 5:20 pm
by Rumraket
Ladies and gentlemen, this is probably one of the most thorough refutations of an creationist article I've seen in the last 10 years. Tomkins on the Human Vitellogenin Pseudogene: Who Needs Signal When You Have Noise?

Quick introduction to the story: Humans have a formerly functional region of the genome that once upon a time, long before we were human, or even apes, from some time close to the common ancestor of all mammals, used to code for a functional protein gene called Vitellogenin, which is an egg-yolk protein. This gene is broken in humans(and all other mammals) and doesn't work, it's a degrading remnant.

Creationist Jeffrey Tomkins of the Institute for creation research claims to have found overwhelming evidence that this is false, and has written an article that gives the superficial appearance of providing lots of evidence that the gene is functional in humans, so it can't be a pseudogene. One problem is pseudogenes can be functional, but that's the least of Tomkins problems.

An evolutionary biologists (calling him/herself Evograd on the blog) decided to read and double-check every claim Jeffrey Tomkins made in his article, and write a blog post about his findings: Tomkins on the Human Vitellogenin Pseudogene: Who Needs Signal When You Have Noise?

A long but great article if you have the patience. The best part of it is this figure though, because of how simple it is and how overwhelmingly wrong it shows Tomkins is about one of many of his claims:
Image
Figure 4 | The gene synteny surrounding the VTG locus in human and chicken. Each coloured arrow represents a gene (not to scale). Homologous genes are represented by the same colours. Direction of the arrow represents the orientation of the gene. The human VTG pseudogene is represented by the orange “X”. The red brace spans the sequence that Tomkins analysed for synteny.


If you're not familiar with the concepts (like synteny) or don't understand what the figure really shows, just read Evograd's blog post, it's all explained there very well.