Tomkins is at it again. He’s a creationist who, for some reason, detests the idea that human chromosome 2 is the production of a fusion of a pair of ancestral ape chromosomes. I don’t understand why; all he’s got to do is invoke The Fall and claim it’s an error of Biblical origin, it’s not as if the Bible has anything at all to say about chromosomes. But he does like to go on and on about searching for evidence of a fusion at the fusion site, like he’s expecting an intact centromere and telomere to be right there, fossilized in the sequence. He’s written another article for Answers in Genesis that is an amazing welter of obfuscation.
In 2013, it was shown that the alleged interstitial telomeric repeat site of the human chromosome 2 fusion corresponding to chimpanzee chromosomes 2A and 2B of a hypothetical common ancestor was actually a second promoter in the DDX11L2 long noncoding RNA gene. Additional ENCODE related data are provided in this report that not only debunk evolutionary criticism and obfuscation in response to this discovery, but solidify the original finding. New data come from epigenetic-modifications, transcription factor binding, and transcription start site information. It is also shown that the alleged cryptic centromere site, which is very short in length compared to a normal centromere, is completely situated inside the actively expressed protein coding gene ANKRD30BL—encoding both exon and intron regions. Other factors refuting this region as a cryptic centromere are also discussed. Taken together, genomic data for both the alleged fusion and cryptic centromere sites refute the concept of fusion in a human-chimpanzee common ancestor.
This is remarkable. His entire ‘evidence’ consists of looking in a region of poorly conserved, non-functional DNA, and failing to find a conserved sequence, as if that’s what is expected. It’s the wrong approach. He has to ignore all the other cytological and sequence data that show that chromosome 2 is similar in structure to two chimpanzee chromosomes. This makes no sense. I explained all this before.
…what they do is focus on just the region of the fusion, and complain that it is a tangled mess and hard to interpret — that it is a degenerate telomeric region, rather than a complete and intact telomere, which is what they demand be present. This is an unrealistic expectation, given that every paper on the structure of the fusion region makes the point that it is degenerate.
An analogy: imagine a red Ford Mustang and a blue BMW X6 are in a head-on collision, and both have totally wrecked front ends, with bumpers and radiators and headlights interlocked and everything about their grilles in tangled confusion, and with bits and pieces torn loose and flung about. You’d be able to look at the crash and still tell by everything in and behind the engine compartment that Car #1 was a Mustang and Car #2 was an X6.
Bergman and Tomkins are the bewildered and incompetent investigators who ignore every other factor in the crash, look at a few particularly mangled bits of the wreckage, and declare that they can’t identify it, therefore…the two vehicles were assembled at the factory in this particular configuration, and no crash occurred. But they use lots of sciencey language to explain this at tendentious length, which is sufficient to convince non-scientists that the interpretation of an obvious historical event has been refuted. And that’s all they need to do to accomplish their goals: fling about unfounded fear, uncertainty, and doubt to win over the ignorant.
Tomkins has done it again. He stares fixedly at the debris and fails to pay any attention at all to the intact, functional regions of the human chromosome and ape chromosomes, which are all you need to tell the tale.