"Genome Research" Theory Q&A: 4/4

Periannan Senapathy sena at genome.com
Fri Apr 7 08:48:27 EST 1995

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[.... Continued ....]

   The span of new organisms within the Cambrian is well explained by
my theory.  In fact I have stated that the genomes of many organisms
were assembled nearly simultaneously and not in a day or a year. 
This process would lead to the origin of many organisms over a short
span of geologic time, which would reflect what is observed in the
Cambrian explosion.

   Again from Andrew MacRae:

   > It is important to realize that there may be more to the
   > Cambrian Explosion than what is obvious at face value.  It is
   > currently being intensively studied, so it is a bit premature
   > to start drawing definitive conclusions about what exactly
   > happened--in my opinion anyway--beyond the fact it appears to
   > be a period of exceptionally rapid evolution/diversification.

   I agree.  As Andrew says, applying what is obvious at face value
to fit the evolution theory is also incorrect.  At the same time, the
observations of Cambrian explosion can fit well with my theory, if he
would read my theory in detail.  I may be premature to start drawing
definitive conclusions about what exactly happened, but at least my
theory opens up an entirely new possibility based on molecular

   Andrew says that the Cambrian Explosion appears to be a period of
exceptionally rapid evolution/diversification.  Please note that this
concept of rapid evolution is a statement which does not actually fit
with any molecular biological evidence.  In fact, there can be no
rapid evolution, which probably most evolutionary biologists know. 
To evolve all the complex organisms classified into all the distinct
phyla within a period of five million years (for that matter, even in
a hundred million years) is highly improbable.  We can prove this
easily when we do computations as to how the new genes and DGPs of
the various distinct creatures could evolve in all these organisms
starting from a single cell.

   Also, as Stephen Gould says, it appears that the eukaryotic single
cell itself had originated right before the Cambrian explosion, which
demands that the first and all the rest of the multicellular
organisms that appeared in the explosion be evolved within the five
million years (ref: Gould, S.J. , 1977, Ever Since Darwin, W.W.
Norton, New York, page 115):

   UCLA paleobotanist J. W. Schopf believes that he has evidence for
   eukaryotic algae in Australian rocks about a billion years old.
   Others contend that Schopf's organelles are really the postmortem
   degradation products of prokaryotic cells.  If these critics are
   right, then we have no evidence for eukaryotes until the very
   latest Precambrian, just before the great Cambrian explosion of
   600 million years ago.

   It should also be noted that the Cambrian explosion was thought to
span 20-30 million years until 1993, when the application of a new
uranium-lead dating method demonstrated that it is actually confined
to the much shorter duration of five million years (ref: Bowring,
S.A. et al., Calibrating rates of early Cambrian evolution, Science,
261:1293-98).  This shrinking of the Cambrian explosion period poses
an even greater problem to evolutionary biology.

   Another important thing we should remember here is that the
numerous distinct organisms that originated in the Cambrian explosion
have never really changed, and have remained indeed essentially the
very same organisms in the many dozens of millions of years since
then.  Would we expect this if evolution through random genomic
mutations is an ongoing process?

   Quoting an earlier post of mine, Andrew says:

   > > But, again, this [punctuated equilibrium] does not offer a
   > > genetic or molecular mechanism, and, in fact, it does not
   > > work when scrutinized at the gene level.

   > This is news to me.  One of the reasons for proposing smaller,
   > isolated populations as a mechanism for speciation was the
   > ability of mutations to have a greater potential effect in a
   > smaller population.

   I have analyzed this carefully in the book to show how this does
not work when scrutinized at the gene level.  My comments above
pertain to this.

   Another comment from Andrew MacRae, again quoting me:

   > > The question of life's origins is truly a multidisciplinary
   > > one:  encompassing many fields including molecular biology,
   > > statistics & mathematics, paleontology, and zoology.  I also
   > > studied zoology, including invertebrate zoology, and found
   > > that there are indeed numerous distinct organisms that are
   > > totally unrelated.

   > This is simply incorrect.  For example, zoologists classify
   > echinoderms, chaetognaths, hemichordates, and chordates as
   > separate phyla, but have always recognized the close
   > similarities in development, symmetry, cellular, and many other
   > features between these groups (they are all deuterostomes).
   > They are quite clearly a related group versus other phyla.

   If we could agree that many phyla are unrelated, it is certainly a
good starting point.  Then we can see that my theory is able to
explain at least the independent origins of the many phyla.  If we
could agree on this, then I could easily explain how even apparently
related organisms within a phylum could originate from their
genomes--which could have assembled some common genes from the common
gene pool of the primordial pond.  In fact, my book explains how this
is the only way the scenario of organisms could be explained, and not
by evolution.

   Andrew MacRae again (and again quoting me):

   > > Please note that zoologists themselves conclude that these
   > > creatures are unrelated, except that they have to say that
   > > these unrelatable creatures must have somehow evolved from
   > > one another, merely to fit the evidence to the prevailing
   > > evolutionary paradigm.

   > No.  They have many similarities, and these are usually pointed
   > out in invertebrate zoology texts.

   May I then point you to the zoology text books that describe the
phylogenetics of each phylum and the organisms within them--for
example, Zoology by Mitchell, Mutchmore and Dolphin (ref: Mitchell,
L.G. et al., 1988, Zoology, The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company,
Menlo Park)?  When we peruse this book, esp. the phylogenetics
section of each phylum, it clearly shows how the different phyla are
absolutely unrelated based on the anatomy of organisms.  I have
quoted many of these zoology texts in my own book, which elaborately
describes how this sort of unrelatedness applies to even organisms
classified within classes and orders.  As regards to the cellular and
biochemical similarity, my theory describes how this is precisely
expected if the different genomes were assembled from a common pool
of genes in a single primordial pond, sharing genes and biochemical
mechanisms through this process.

   Andrew concludes:

   > You have quite a bit more research to do before you can say
   > your model accurately reflects the evidence, let alone refute
   > evolutionary theory.

Certainly I agree.  At least I am able to present a scientific theory
that can be a viable alternative to evolution theory, and I am
pleased that I could open up a new scientific discussion to
understand the origins of life and diverse organisms.  I would only
request people to look at my new theory objectively (and completely),
and analyze the existing data to prove or disprove its scientific


Thanks again to everyone.  I will prepare a similar "consolidated"
reply to the next batch of substantive comments and questions, and
will post again in another two to three weeks.  Anyone preferring to
discuss these matters privately may e-mail me at:  sena at genome.com.

Periannan Senapathy

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