A Paper on De Novo Promoters for MC Hammer

A great paper from a twitter exchange with the MC Hammer (no joke!)…

Random sequences rapidly evolve into de novo promoters

How new functions arise de novo is a fundamental question in evolution. We studied de novo evolution of promoters in Escherichia coli by replacing the lac promoter with various random sequences of the same size (~100 bp) and evolving the cells in the presence of lactose. We find that ~60% of random sequences can evolve expression comparable to the wild-type with only one mutation, and that ~10% of random sequences can serve as active promoters even without evolution. Such a short mutational distance between random sequences and active promoters may improve the evolvability, yet may also lead to accidental promoters inside genes that interfere with normal expression. Indeed, our bioinformatic analyses indicate that E. coli was under selection to reduce accidental promoters inside genes by avoiding promoter-like sequences. We suggest that a low threshold for functionality balanced by selection against undesired targets can increase the evolvability by making new beneficial features more accessible.



Almost like biochemical activity is common and easy, and systems governed by stochastic electrosteric interactions are lousy with easily evolved near-misses.


@NLENTS and @art this is a really great paper…

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It definitely is. I’ve referenced it numerous times on this forum(such as here), in discussions concerning the relationship between non-coding DNA, junk-DNA, and de novo gene birth.

It ties in really well with the concept of noisy, spurious, or so-called pervasive transcription providing the source materials for potentially selectable open reading frames evolving into bona fide protein coding genes.


Which combined with the fact that random peptide sequences are commonly biochemically active…

And ENV pipes in:

Rapper MC Hammer Embraces Intelligent Design | Evolution News

The One Endorsement to Bring them all, and in the Darkness Bind Them!


MC Hammer? Please! If they convince 6ix9ine then they will have my respect and attention.

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Fairly strong evidence against intelligent design.


Yes, it is now clearly time for scientists to stop with this silly “evolution” business. Klinghoffer and MC Hammer have spoken.

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From what I can tell, MC Hammer seems like a genuinely nice guy. I hope I get a chance to talk to him in person sometime. :slight_smile:


I completely agree, and I love that he is very into science at this stage in his life! I’m just not going to bring up ID, should we ever have the chance to meet :stuck_out_tongue:

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Interesting, Dan, but I think I prefer the original version :slight_smile:

Dating myself a bit, but I saw him in concert when I was a senior in high school. Vanilla Ice was supposed to be the opening act, but he cancelled. Oh, those were the days. Please Hammer . . . don’t hurt 'em.

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Well, MC Hammer just tweeted support for the Biden/Harris ticket. I’m pretty sure any courting by the Discovery Institute is now over.


M.C. Hammer’s survival prospects within the ID ecosystem have clearly been reduced due to a non-beneficial mutation.

In contrast, M.C. Escher lives on in a wide range of environments, especially college dorm-room walls.