These kinds of calculations are always handy. Larry Moran estimates the number of novel mutations you carry: the textbooks say about 300, he calculates something over 120. So next time a creationist tells you all mutations are deleterious, just tell him he’s a mutant himself with somewhere around a few hundred random nucleotide changes from either of his parents. What Larry doesn’t mention in this estimate, but I know he’s familiar with the idea, is that most of those mutations will be neutral: about 95% will fall into junk DNA, many won’t affect the amino acid sequence of any proteins, others may cause slight changes in the protein sequence that don’t detectably affect the phenotype.
In the category of utterly baffling pronouncements from scientists, Larry also chastises John Greally for misrepresenting junk DNA in an interview with Ira Flatow. I could scarcely believe it myself, but I listened to the interview, and Greally actually seems to be conflating regulatory sequences with junk, and Flatow introduces the story as suggesting that junk DNA may all have a function. He also claims that if you have a mutation in a gene, the “gene is dead” and will have no function. None of this is correct. It’s bizarre—I think Larry and I are fairly familiar with the genetics literature, and there’s nothing to support these contentions and quite a bit to contradict them.