Not to sound too dogmatic, but it hasn’t even come close to being dismantled. Humans are different from other species due to the DNA differences between our genomes. This is true of all species.[quote=“senatorthomas, post:75, topic:36182”]
The sophistication ENCODE has given us to appreciate a bit what lies ahead. What amazing NEW features will be found… The genome is just one of the databases… Function in biological systems depends on properties of matter that are not specified by genes. (Denis Noble)
What ENCODE found was widespread spurious transcription. In other words, they found junk RNA. ENCODE has since walked back a lot of their findings, saying that about 10% of the human genome has selectable function. Before, they were defining function by the mere presence of an RNA transcript which made no sense. Junk DNA will be transcribed at low levels, so finding an RNA molecule that matches up to a DNA sequence does not automatically indicate function.[quote=“senatorthomas, post:75, topic:36182”]
For instance…I distinguish these two mechanisms: random mutation and intron splicing. Intron splicing is one of the major distinctions between the neo-Darwinian mechanism and the Third Way… Intron splicing, with other non-mutation mechanisms is what I think of as one of the replacement modalities for the limited positive function of random mutation.
Like junk DNA, there is also junk splicing. Most of the evidence I have seen points to the majority of alternate intron splicing as just being mistakes made by the cellular machinery. Also, the rate at which different splice variants appear is determined by sequence with different sequences leading to different intron usage. The function of those new RNAs is also still determined by sequence. This is all still well within the standard theory.[quote=“senatorthomas, post:75, topic:36182”]
As I see it with my admittedly limited ability and knowledge, random mutation is useful in giving us variation within a species; size of dog, color of hair, color of eyes etc. But there is an end to mutation positives (microevolution).
There is no end to beneficial mutations, at least not that life has found. The physical differences between species is due to sequence differences, and those beneficial differences are also due to sequence differences.[quote=“senatorthomas, post:75, topic:36182”]
Overall, mutation will destroy;
Overall, the majority of mutations are neutral since they occur in the 80-90% of the genome that has no selectable function. The mutations that are deleterious are selected against, so they are removed from the population. Beneficial mutations are the ones that are kept due to selection.[quote=“senatorthomas, post:75, topic:36182”]
Ten or fifteen years from now, there may not be a new name for Neo-Darwinism , but the theory will have expanded to say something like; Assorted processes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, 10… plus random mutation at times PLUS natural selection PLUS time = MacroEvolution.
Every theory is added to over time, but the raw material for long term evolution continues to be random mutations.