Friday, November 1, 2013

Vertebrate Complexity Is Explained by the Evolution of Long-Range Interactions that Regulate Transcription?

The Deflated Ego Problem is a very serious problem in molecular biology. It refers to the fact that many molecular biologists were puzzled and upset to learn that humans have about the same number of genes as all other multicellular eukaryotes. The "problem" is often introduced by stating that the experts working on the human genome project expected at least 100,000 genes but were "shocked' when the first draft of the human genome showed only 30,000 genes (now down to about 25,000). This story is a myth as I document in: Facts and Myths Concerning the Historical Estimates of the Number of Genes in the Human Genome. Truth is, most knowledgeable experts expected that humans would have about the same number of genes as other animals. They realized that the differences between fruit flies and humans, for example, didn't depend on a host of new human genes but on the timing and expression of a mostly common set of genes.

This isn't good enough for many human chauvinists. They are still looking for something special that sets human apart from all other animals. I listed seven possibilities in my post on the deflated ego problem:
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