The life sciences research team at ICR has recently focused on the cell’s telomere features, a chromosome end-capping system found in the cells of plants and animals that provides a variety of important features to protect the ends of linear chromosomes. The telomere is a uniquely designed mechanism that makes higher forms of cell life possible, in contrast to single-cell bacteria that have simpler, circular chromosomes.1
Telomeres are complex structures involving RNA, DNA, and proteins that have both structural and dynamic regulatory features. The basic chromosomal DNA sequence of the telomere is a very long string of 6-base subunits (TTAGGG) that are repeated in tandem and can extend up to 5,000 to 15,000 bases in total length.2
Many scientists were surprised when short sections of telomere sequences also began to be discovered in the internal regions of chromosomes. At first, scientists thought that these internal telomere sequences (ITLS) were genetic mistakes and served no useful purpose.3 In fact, a number of scientists thought that ITLS could be dangerous and tried to associate them with diseases, cancer, and chromosome breakage.
However, later research showed that these anomalies were primarily associated with other sequences that were physically close to the ITLS and had nothing to do with their presence.4 Still other studies have shown that the presence of telomere sequences within internal regions of chromosomes affects gene expression by changing the conformational (3-dimensional) properties of the DNA.5 As is typical of the evolutionary paradigm, scientists started out with the premise that ITLS were freak accidents of nature, disruptive to the genome, and most likely associated with diseases. As is also typical of the evolutionary paradigm, despite this negative approach, evolutionists concluded that these structures have function and purpose within the genome….
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