UDreamOfJanie

Dream a Little Dream of Me.

Help! My Vitamin C Gene Is Broken!

Ok, sorry ’bout that post mistake. All better now.

So I’m looking into this broken Vitamin C gene because of Bourgeois Rage’s comments on The Science Thread. Yes, I’m aware I’m breaking my own rules. My Blog, My Rules, My Prerogative, Behold the Door.

This makes sense to me. It’s a very strong argument for common descent. If I understand this correctly, and thanks to Kate and BR I think I do, here’s how it goes.

Mr. and Mrs. Snuffleupagus have ten kids. They name them Zack, Yorick, Xavier, William, Vernon, Uhura, Tara, Samuel, Rachel, and Horatio. (They like the alphabet, you know.)

Each of those children are different, and each of them is a combination of Mr. S and Mrs. S., and each of them potentially has some slight genetic mutation that neither Mr. nor Mrs. S. has.

For instance, Yorick, William, and Tara all have a mutation that gives them some better nerve connections in their brains and makes them a little smarter.

Zack, Xavier, William, Tara, and Samuel have longer legs than either of their parents, enabling them to run faster.

Yorick wound up with much shorter legs.

Rachel got different colored eyes and thicker fur, and Tara, Uhura, and Horatio got really attractive Snuffleupagus genes.

Now, because his legs were so short, Yorrick wound up getting eaten by the mean ol’ Sabretooth Tiger. He was eaten before he could have kids, and thus, that mutation will not carry on to the next generation.

William, because of his larger, better brain waxes poetic “Alas. Poor Yorrick. I knew him, Horatio.” But Horatio is kinda dumb, so he doesn’t get it.

Now, Zack, Xavier, William, Tara, and Samuel all live to make babies, because they can out run the Sabretooth Tiger.

Horatio joins Yorrick in the victims column, ’cause he didn’t run at all.

Tara and Uhura are very, very pretty, so they make lots of pretty babies. All the boy Snuffleupagi want to jump their bones. Tara has an advantage, though because her legs are longer, so all her babies survive, while some of Uhura’s babies get eaten and some don’t.

Rachel’s babies have thicker fur and pretty eyes, and she’s smart enough to at least stay in the trees if she can’t out run the Sabretooth Tigers. (I made a slight change here because it was brought to my attention that it may have undertones that I did not intend. Thank you.)

Eventually, all the babies that grow up have babies of their own, and these babies inherit the traits of their parent. Plus they inherit some of the traits of their other parent. Plus, they have mutations of their own.

Down the road, Rachel’s descendants are so different from William’s descendants that they can’t mate anymore between them.

At this point, we have two different species. The broken Vitamin C gene would be like the long legs or the different eyes. It gets passed down to some of the descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Snuffleupagus, but not all. That’s why it shows up in primates, but not other mammals.

Am I all good so far?

Filed under: Biology, Education, Friends, Humor, Science

41 Responses

  1. You seem to have a pretty good handle on the basic concepts. But I’ll point out a few things.

    The idea that mutations happen that quickly is nice for an example, but not realistic. Also it is unlikely that 4 (or even 2) children would all receive the same mutations. You may have confused parents passing down traits with mutation.

    Also, sometimes a “bad” mutation will get passed on. Now this mutation may be a bad thing one way, but good in another. See sickle ell. This causes the normally round blood cells to be shaped like a sickle. This hurts the efficiency of the cell (and can in cases kill a person with this mutation), but in areas where malaria is a problem is can help reduce the chance of infection.

    As I am not a biologist hopefully, someone else from AtBC will pop in. And this example really doesn’t address the Vitamin C issue. The Vitamin C aspect is basically strong evidence that a mutation can happen and will be passed down to children. Seeing this mutation in multiple species suggests common descent.

  2. JanieBelle says:

    What? All that pesterin’ ’bout science and now no one comments?

    Just kiddin’.

    JanieBelle

  3. JanieBelle says:

    Ha, we seem to have posted overtop of each other.

    Sorry br.

  4. JanieBelle says:

    I get the speed thing BR, I just didn’t want to post millions of years worth of mutations.

    I also realize that some “bad” mutations will get passed on, like the broken vitamin C gene. Again, I was trying to abbreviate the history of the world.

  5. I figured that you got it, but I have run across people in the past demanding evidence of cats turning into dogs right before their eyes to prove evolution. Telling them that is not evolution works would only garner the response that I couldn’t prove evolution.

    I just want to try to make it clear.

  6. JanieBelle says:

    Very good. Thank you for your time and patience, BR.

    I really do appreciate it.

  7. JanieBelle says:

    And any given mutation might be good, bad, or indifferent, and may or not be passed down depending on whether the host survives to reproduce, right?

    Like the broken Vitamin C gene. It’s kind of detrimental, but not life threatening in itself. It managed to get passed down in the primates, but if it ever occurred in other mammals, it didn’t survive to reproduce. Or, the animals carrying it didn’t, anyway.

    So we know that humans are more closely related to other primates than they are to whales, for instance, not just because of the outward physical appearance, but also because of genetics.

    I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of this now.

  8. JanieBelle says:

    Kangaroo with fangs?

    Now here’s a mutation that I bet a lot of Aussies are glad didn’t survive.

  9. Zachriel says:

    JanieBelle: “At this point, we have two different species.

    (Keeping in mind that your story is only an analogy and not to be confused with scientific evidence.)

    You described the basic process ok. Consider also neutral changes. One of the long-legged children also happens to have a long nose. Well, that might lead to a successful family of long-nosed runners.

    However, speciation is a bit more complicated. As long as the children can intermarry (only kissing cousins, of course!), they will not normally form separate species.

    But consider if one clan heads for the mountains and one clan heads for the beach. If they are separated for a great number of generations, if and when they meet again, they may not recognize one another as kissing cousins and no longer intermarry. This is called ‘reproductive isolation’.

    The science is a bit more complicated, of course. In Darwin’s day, species were considered specially created and any change was thought to be about the mean, or an ideal form. But Darwin noted that species weren’t really immutable and that various processes like hybridization between closely related species is what one would expect if reproductive isolation was a gradual process that occurred in populations evolving in separate geographic areas. For instance, lions and tigers which can breed but only very rarely even in captivity. Here are some interesting hybrids:

    Ligers
    Tigons
    Zeedonk
    Zorse

  10. Anonymous says:

    Tigers can climb trees. ;p

  11. JanieBelle says:

    Thanks for that Zachriel. Your input is really appreciated.

    I like examples. Silly, simple examples help me understand. Kate’s good at them.

    Kaylaface,

    You are too cute.

    Love Aunt JanieBelle

  12. Anonymous says:

    Ok, you are off to a good start.
    Realize though that the people you deal with over at UD are a distinct subset of creationists. As ID’ers they actually accept evolution and common ancestry. So they won’t dispute what you have learned above. They simply claim that variation followed by natural selection is insufficient to explain the complex nature of living things. Their arguments are clever and certainly complex as well, which is not an accident since the purpose of the arguments is to snow the scientifically unsophisticated public, but they are nonetheless empty of content. PvM over at AtBC would say they are vacuous.

    vino of wil

    PS
    That was me trying to make a joke about tigers above. Try not to forget to sign again. Thanks for letting us post. I really didn’t want to have to make a blogger account.

  13. JanieBelle says:

    Hi vino, I saw my neice was on, and assumed it was her. It’s something she’d say.

    Thank you for this post. Let me just say “yeah, I’m getting that”.

    Vacuous is a good word. I’m a word fanatic.

    Let me just address something else, while you’re here. I believe I may have gravely misunderstood the intent of your post in another thread.

    We can take that up there, though.

    JanieBelle

  14. Zachriel says:

    Anonymous: “As ID’ers they actually accept evolution and common ancestry. So they won’t dispute what you have learned above. They simply claim that variation followed by natural selection is insufficient to explain the complex nature of living things.

    And they will claim that their “theory” predicts the same thing as the Theory of Evolution, which is bunk. They never actually discover anything, while real scientists are making discoveries in everything from geology to genetics every day.

    Natural selection is directly observed. Artificial selection has allowed dogs to ‘morph’ from wolves to Chijuajuas and Poodles in just a few thousand years, and corn to its modern sweet variety in just a few hundred years.

    Mutation can be directly observed, not only in the lab under controlled conditions, but in breed animals leading to various new strains in purebred populations.

    There are still many unanswered questions and outright mysteries about the history of life on Earth, but Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory because it merely pretends to be science.

    Oops! Forgot to include an analogy. Phrenologists were once considered by some to be serious scientists. They used complicated words and charts and “regular people” could be easily persuaded that this was real science. But real science uses a specific methodology. And it doesn’t always require special equipment, or special training. Even Mark Twain of Tom Sawyer fame can be a scientist.

    You’ll have to click through to my blog to learn about Mark Twain single-blind experiment with phrenology.

  15. JanieBelle says:

    Wait, I want to back up a sec:

    Vino said,

    As ID’ers they actually accept evolution and common ancestry. So they won’t dispute what you have learned above. They simply claim that variation followed by natural selection is insufficient to explain the complex nature of living things.

    Well then what was all the stink about “Birds with wings, fish with scales, elephants with big butts” or whatever?

    I thought that the ID position accepted Micro evolution, but not macroevoluton.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well, as far as I can see, some ID’ers accept our common descent from ape like ancestors, some dont.
    Others accept some “macro-evolution”, some dont. Others say “macro-evolution” is junk.

    The key point here is that they lack an overarching theory which explains why, for example “macro-evolution” does not happen, yet “micro-evolution” does take place.
    Next time you meet one of them, you might ask them about their theory regarding “micro” and “macro” evolution, and how they know what they do.

    As for evolutionary biology, as far as I can see (Not being a biologist myself) the whole macro/micro evolution thing doesnt matter. Its more of a continuum, of less and less genes in common the further you go from the common ancestor.
    Even the defition of a species is slightly more fuzzy than you might imagine. The talk origins archive has some stuff on all that to begin with.
    guthrie

  17. Zachriel says:

    JanieBelle: “Well then what was all the stink about ‘Birds with wings, fish with scales, elephants with big butts’ or whatever?

    Because once they become detached from empiricism, anything is possible, and they are willing to ally with people who hold completely contrary views. In addition, it allows them to slip from one viewpoint to another during arguments.

    By the way, the evolution of big butts in pachyderms is a very large subject — but we’ll have to leave that for another time.

  18. JanieBelle says:

    Thanks guthrie, I’ll add that to the list.

    Left you a note in the “Letter to Guthrie” thread.

    Gotta hit the shower. Back after a while.

  19. JanieBelle says:

    Hi Zach,

    😉

    When we get around to big pachyderm butts, I have questions about their other…bits.

    Now I’m REALLY getting in the shower. Back in a little bit.

  20. Anonymous says:


    evolution of big butts in pachyderms is a very large subject

    Groan…….
    guthrie

  21. Zachriel says:

    guthrie: “Groan…….

    There are many surprising wrinkles in the study …

    [Zachriel ducks for cover]

  22. Anonymous says:

    *guthrie goes looking for an elephant gun*

  23. JanieBelle says:

    [JanieBelle goes looking for a Shakespeare quoting snuffleupagus]

  24. blipey says:

    Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie
    Which we ascribe to heaven.

    -Helena, All’s Well that Ends Well, Ii

    I believe she said this just before shooting an elephant, butt I could be wrong.

  25. JanieBelle says:

    Blipey the Shakespeare Quoting Snuffleupagus!

    He was here all along, all I had to do was click my heels three times…

    🙂

  26. JanieBelle says:

    Hey, I wonder if Tara has ever swabbed an elephant butt?

    Or a Snuffleupagus butt, for that matter.

    Any comments, Blipey? Anectdotes? A little personal experience for us, maybe?

    🙂

  27. blipey says:

    No, really no elephant experience in my past. I also don’t have much to add to the vitamin C discussion–others are doing a spectacular job there.

    I will make a brief comment about the ID movement, though. Since they like to quote from sources with virtually no knowledge of biology, I will too. Besides his above line, Willie Shakespeare had much else to say about the ID movement. For instance:

    Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good
    We oft might win by fearing to attempt.

    -Angelo, Measure for Measure, IIii

    Of course, Shakespeare was talking not about the ID movement specifically, but about the human condition. So my quoting of his take on the personalities in the ID movement is waaaaay more relevant than anything they come up with.

  28. JanieBelle says:

    Wow, blipey, you’re suckin’ up good! I LOVE Willie the Playwrite. I think he’s growing on Kate.

    We were just wonderin’ above that since you’re a snuffleupagus, has Tara ever swabbed YOUR butt.

    Trust us, it was funny from here.

    🙂 Big cute smilie here for big cute blipey there.

  29. JanieBelle says:

    Well Kansas City? Are you going to comment or just read this page over and over and over?

    Hugs and Kisses,

    JanieBelle and Corporal Kate

  30. blipey says:

    I keep hoping that someone will return to the thread topic at hand, but alas (poor Yorrick?). Too much free time when a show is cancelled and you’re just listening to the ballgame, ya know.

    Suppose I should get the feed, easier to keep a window open and keep checking though.

    Because once they become detached from empiricism, anything is possible, and they are willing to ally with people who hold completely contrary views. In addition, it allows them to slip from one viewpoint to another during arguments.

    So, I’ll comment on what I know. As Zach said, IDers often display dubious intellectual capacity. This is not necessarily a critique of their argument, but of their manner of argument.

    If you read UD for any length of time you get a picture of total intellectual chaos. They agree about what the tenets of their own movement is, let alone what it is they might be fighting. Until someone displays a little consistency in what their own view is, why should the world pay them any heed?

  31. blipey says:

    They agree about what the tenets of their own movement is…

    Hopefully, it was apparent that I meant “They can’t agree…

  32. JanieBelle says:

    Ok, blipey. We didn’t know who it was, and you were starting to scare us a little. We’re all better now that we know it’s our favorite Shakespeare quoting Snuffleupagus.

    If it eases your mind any, there’s four of us now all reading this same page.

  33. JanieBelle says:

    Quite apparent. We were reading what you meant, not what you wrote.

    🙂

  34. JanieBelle says:

    Oh, and the science thing…. Kate’s making it hard for me to concentrate here.

    But your point is well made, and noted. I’m getting that vibe from the ID movement, as far as not being able to agree on what their position is.

    It bodes not well.

  35. JanieBelle says:

    And what do you think of our new icon thingy, by the way?

  36. blipey says:

    Hmmm. Very Rubenesque. Never really a fan, but it beats the hell out of “stock icon #7”.

  37. JanieBelle says:

    Lilith by John Collier 1898.

    More info here.

  38. JanieBelle says:

    Oh, and be a dear and let PeckerHead Deadman know that we have a message for him.

  39. blipey says:

    I’m sure deadman can read for himself; don’t really look out for him (or know him for that matter).

    As for the painting, I meant the style, not merely Peter Paul Rubens, himself.

  40. JanieBelle says:

    We got that from the “esque”. We were just pointing you in that direction, if you (or anyone else) was interested.

    I (JanieBelle) was pretty annoyed with Deadman’s comment about my adam’s apple and manly legs.

    Ask me again why I won’t post at AtBC.

    Kate has her own reasons, which should be rather obvious, given some of the comments we’ve had to can here. Not even mentioning the little bit of hate mail coming in. She’s only got a month left, and getting tossed out over some 14th century morality rules would suck.

    We were hoping you’d be a sweetie, and just post a “hey deadman, JanieBelle and Kate left you a love note”.

  41. blipey says:

    I would also like to thank DaveScot here at this nice thread–for never participating. In an actual discussion of science, right here, as in the comments above.

    It’s too bad you’re going; we hardly knew ye. But we learned so much in our short time, as evidenced by your comments above, on this page. Wait, I meant, on a different page, somewhere…I think.

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