RNA editing makes us human, suggests a report in New Scientist, 29 January 2005, p13.
RNA editing is a process that changes genetic information after it has been copied onto a molecule called messenger RNA, which carries the information to the protein making machinery in the cell. One editing process changes adenosine molecules to inosine. This kind of editing occurs commonly in RNA from regions called Alu sequences, which were thought to be genomic junk.
A team of scientists at Tel Aviv University carried out a survey of these RNA edits in corresponding messenger RNAs in humans and other species, and found that humans had over ten times more edits than mice, rats, chickens and flies. This could be because humans have more Alu sequences. The function of the RNA editing has yet to be understood, although previous studies have shown it is most common in brain tissue.
This has led some scientists to speculate that RNA editing gave humans their complex brains and may explain why mice and humans are so different, when they have similar numbers of genes.
Editorial Comment: This study reminds us that comparing DNA between human and any other species does not actually explain any differences between the species. It certainly does not explain the origin of any species. Popular claims that humans are 95 – 99 percent the same as chimpanzees on the basis of similarities in DNA are therefore meaningless.
This study also confirms claims made by Creation Research that “junk DNA” is there for a purpose, and is not an evolutionary leftover. We predict that when RNA is further studied it will reveal even more differences between humans and other species.
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