DNA duplication, mutation, and information

so according to that scenario (a single amino acid =a new function?), a flagellum can evolve from non-flagellum by changing a single amino acid? and a vision system can evolve from non-vision system by changing a single amino acid etc?. is that your scenario? do you think its realistic? If this were true, we would have known for a long time how these systems evolved, even at the genetic level. Which is clearly not the case in reality.

since DNA isnt a protein this is irrelevant. we are talking about proteins, which are different from DNA in few ways.

i never said that every function is isolated in sequence space. but i do think that many of them are probably are, such as that repressor:


“Nevertheless, the estimated number of sequences capable of adopting the h repressor fold is still an exceedingly small fraction, about one in 10^63 of the total number of possible 92-residue sequences”

I don’t think anyone denies that.

So what? Are you setting yourself up for the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy? That would be my bet.


Nice try shifting the goal posts. We have being talking about the evolution of new functions regardless of whether they emerge in proteins or nuclei acids.

This papers showed the extremely low probability of getting a lambda repressor FOLD from its 92-residue sequences if we were to build it from randomly chosen amino acids as done in the study. It says nothing about the evolution of new FUNCTIONS, like a repressor function.

Simply altering the genome of a bacterium through duplication and mutation will not result in an entire genome. To get from bacteria to anatomical structures, there needs to be a mechanism to add new genetic information such as genes to make arms, legs, brains, etc.

So if natural selection and random mutations could produce something akin to this, then it would falsify my hypothesis.

If duplication and mutation does not add new genetic information, then effectively you are saying the following all have no new information,

and thus information content wise


That is, taking your claim to its logical conclusion, you thus claim every possible sequence has no new information compared to every other possible sequence.


Duplications are the result of repeating existing genetic information, and mutations change existing genetic information (whether original or duplicated) but neither of them adds new information.

I just listened to a Beethoven symphony (number 8, to be precise). It was beautiful music. But there is no information there.

How do I know that? The recording medium started out with all zero bits. Then some of those were changed to 1 bits. So, by your own argument, that just changes existing information and does not add information.

Sorry, but these “information” arguments are absurd.


What information have you created with this exercise?

You have just agreed that every possible sequence has no new information compared to every other possible sequence. Did you know that’s what you were doing? Because that also means it would take no new information to transform a bacterial genome to a human genome. All genomes must have identical information content. Is that really the hill you want to die on?


Firstly, duplication absolutely adds information, from as simple as increased expression and synthesis, to adding secondary/tertiary/quaternary structure to proteins or the DNA itself, to providing raw material for mutation to neofunctionalise/subfunctionalise with, to redundancy against failure.

Secondly, if you duplicate four or five nucleotides, as opposed to a multiple of three, or any number but duplicated in a different reading frame, very different nucleotides can be added to the sequence compared to the original!

Last of all, what is your quantifiable measure of information? SInce you guys are the ones arguing there is no added or new genetic information by mutation or duplication.

I am very happy with Shannon information, or counting information simply by number of bits, or number of nucleotides, although this will lose structural/chemical and other fuzzy information as compared to the raw chemical structure, but is a reasonable approximation of measuring the sequence aspect of information contained in DNA.

What about you?


First, gene/genome duplication is a mutation. Correct yourself.

Second, your comment makes no sense. Bacteria already have a genome, so mutations will only increase, decrease or not affect its size. More so, the process of genome (which could be DNA or RNA) replication is what produces an “entire genome” in all life forms today not mutations.

First, bacteria has its own anatomical structure. If you took biology 101 you would know this much.

Second, you have started throwing around “new genetic information” again without defining what it means. In this context, what do you mean by new genetic information?

Third, the earliest eukaryotes (which were unicellular) were born from endosymbiosis between Archaea and Bacteria. Some of these unicellular eukaryotes went on to evolve multicellularity. The evolution of multicellularity allowed for the transition to macroscopic life. Millions of years later, here we are.

Endosymbiosis —> multicellularity —> humans and other macroscopic life forms. Broadly speaking, this is the sequence of events that produced more anatomically complex organisms like us and we know this from examining data from a wide range of sources.

In addition, its wasn’t just “natural selection and random mutations”. Drift, sexual recombination and other factors were involved.

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I would like to point out that using this concept of information, a pile of sedimentary rock is choc full of information as well. That is why geologists can work out the conditions under which it was deposited, often in great detail. In effect, the geologists translate the information in the rock into words and concepts that other people can understand.

Does this mean that a pile of sedimentary rock was intelligently designed?



If mutation and selection can’t add information, then by definition information can’t be added. What difference does it make that a random mutation adds AGC to a sequence, or it is deliberately placed there with intent by some sentient being? Either way the sequence AGC is added and the effect is the same.

The idea that a natural process can’t create information is THE MOST OBVIOUSLY FALSE in all of ID-creationism.


Indeed. See: all of geology.


there is no real difference between the two. remember that there are many different protein folds in nature. so nature supposedly evolved new folds over time. thus, the chance to get a new fold seems to be very unlikely.

You cited no evidence, and thus this guess can be dismissed withour evidence.

Here IS evidence folds evolved from shorter simpler ones

The numerous instances of local sequence and structure similarities within different protein folds, together with evidence from proteins containing sequence and structure repeats, argues in favor of the evolution of modern single polypeptide domains from ancient short peptide ancestors (antecedent domain segments (ADSs)).

By the way, what is your explanation for why phylogeny of a sequence BETTER predicts function than the sequence itself? Especially if evolution is wrong, and design is correct?


Well, creationists tend not to put much credence on any geological evidence from what I’ve seen, so they’re being kinda consistent in a way.

Whitcomb, one of the fathers of young earth creationism, submitted “The Genesis Flood” to several Christian publishers, all of whom rejected the book except one. The one and smallest publisher, Moody, accepted it on the proviso that it be reviewed by a PhD geologist.

The only geologist willing to review it was so appalled by the “science” of Whitcomb that he suggested Whitcomb learn some basic geology.

Thus, Whitcomb decided to ignore entirely the input of geologists, and found a fellow Christian civil engineer Morris, who advised him to avoid geological arguments altogether and stick to theological ones, and together they wrote the book “The Genesis Flood” and cofounded modern creationism.

Thus ignoring geology has been a long time tradition of young earth creationism.

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This is an interesting argument but its not clear this is indeed information. Very complex discussion without at least some 12 year old scotch. :slight_smile:

Shannon information is measurable and interesting but it is a partial description. Included in Shannons theory is a sender and receiver. In your prior argument you described that duplicated sequences generated function but what is missing is the purpose or reason of the function. It certainly can add redundancy but is redundancy really new information ie a new function.

How you see these things really depends on your starting assumptions.

I see you reject other usable, quantifiable measurements of information, but have not come up with your own way of determining how much information is in a given sequence, all the while while claiming that duplication and mutation cannot add information.


If redundancy isn’t information or a function, then could you please kindly define for me what information or a function is?

If quaternary/tertiary/secondary structure, such as in haemoglobin, protein folds, alpha helix and beta sheet don’t have any new function or information, what is?

A duplication of a sequence can “put in” extra structures, extra helices, extra beta sheets, extra folds.

You guys just wanna keep insisting that one bit is all the information that is possible on a digital computer “because duplication and mutation don’t add any information”, so on a computer a 0 bit has the same information as 0000000011111111110101010101010110110110000000, and that my dad’s 286 computer can hold the same quantity of information as my current pc in 2021.


You can define “information” such that duplication and mutation add it but at best you have a partial definition that will lead to a misleading argument. What you are struggling with is the creation claim that minds uniquely generate information. There is a reason you are struggling and its not your rhetorical skill. its a very powerful argument.