The human genome is ultracompressed data. How does it evolve?

by Alexander

The genome consists of 46 chromosomes, one 23 chromosome set obtained from the mother and one set from the father. The information in each set is interchangeable (usually one dominant gene from each pair will function whilst the other is recessive) or more often the two copes are identical indicating that there is redundancy in the system. Redundancy does not increase information, it only makes it more secure. The 23 chromosomes contain about 3 billion base pairs, each base consisting of one of 4 types (ACGT). Therefore, each base pair can code 2 bits of information (2x2=4) giving 6 billion bits of information per haploid genome or 750 million bytes i.e. 750 megabytes. Thus, the available space is about the same as a standard CD ROM. The amount of information to be stored is probably in the realm of terabytes but the available space is less than one gigabyte. There does not seem to be enough chromatin available to store the required information, in fact across different species the available chromatin does not correlate with apparent complexity at all (this is the C paradox).

There are three possibilities; 1) Organisms are really very much simpler than we first estimated 2) There is much more space available, we have just not defined it all 3) The information is there but it is just ultra-compressed. Given the amazing amount of organisational complexity that 100 trillion cells would require 1) is not tenable. As far as 2) is concerned, we possibly have underestimated the amount of information stored in the cytoplasm and cell wall of the original ovum (i.e. all the other bits barring the DNA) but the cytoplasm only provides the information required to boot the genome up. All the information in the cytoplasm must also be stored in the code because the code reproduces the cytoplasm at cell division. There is also some information stored in an epigenetic code (methylation of bases etc) which we have not counted but this would need to be many orders of magnitude larger than the primary storage in order to hold terabytes. This would be a strange way for evolution to store data (three quarters of a gigabyte of primary storage with terabytes stored by switching the primary storage on and off) especially if you consider that the primary storage is supposed to be predominantly junk (only about 3% of the genome codes for proteins) so 2) seems unlikely. Therefore, we are left with the possibility that the genome is ultra-compressed data.
Some estimates suggest 70% of the genome is functional and 30% junk. So all the information required to make and run a human resides in about 525 megabytes.
Evolutionists may suggest that humans are really very simple mechanisms and maybe 525 megabytes of uncompressed data is about right. However, consider this thought experiment. It is often said that there is only about a 2% difference between chimpanzee and human DNA (the estimate varies between 1% and 5%) indicating to evolutionists that we must have had a recent common ancestor. This means that a human is just an upgraded chimpanzee (Simian 1.02 if you will). This upgrade is about 2% of the 525 megabyte functional genome or 10.5 megabytes. Undoubtedly, some of this is taken up in structural body changes such as greater height and less hair but we will accept that these changes are only cosmetic and they probably do not add much to the 10.5 megabytes. The big change is in brain function. You get the ability to utilise, to a much greater degree, language and mathematics; you also get music, philosophy and much improved creativity and cognition and vastly increased memory. Not bad for a 10.5 megabyte upgrade. Let’s look at one function only, i.e. voice recognition. Chimps can only recognise a limited vocabulary of grunts and calls, human babies are born with the ability to copy the sounds of their parents and correlate the sounds with words to eventually recognise a huge vocabulary of words. This voice recognition software is innate in children and must reside in the 10.5 megabyte upgrade. How does this compare with the best that human programmers can do? I have voice recognition software on my computer and it requires 1 gigabyte or 1000 megabytes of hard drive space. So if voice recognition was the only function which the 10.5 megabyte Simian 1.02 upgrade entailed then evolution managed to code it in about 100 times less space than a computer programmer (a compression ratio compared to a programmer of 100:1). Not bad for a completely blind, random process! If we factor in all of the other improvements in brain functionality from the Simian 1.02 upgrade then the compression ratio of the human genome compared to a computer must be closer to 1000:1 or 10,000:1.If 3% of the genome was all that is functional then the operating system of a human would be about 22.5 megabytes and the difference between a human and chimpanzee would be only 450 kilobytes! Data compression means each base pair codes for multiple domains and many differing phenotypical traits. Therefore, random changes affect multiple traits, most for the worst, a very few for the better. If all positive mutations are linked to negative ones how does evolution move forward? More importantly if all negative mutations are linked to a single positive one then severe diseases such as cystic fibrosis cannot be excluded from the genome by evolution because of the mixed messages(1 in 25 carry the disease). Thus all improvment is linked to degeneration which sounds more like error catastrophe than evolution.

Comments for The human genome is ultracompressed data. How does it evolve?

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Nov 13, 2014
More False Assertions
by: Paul (Webmaster)

Nothing in the original post here is referenced, and most of it can be answered by anyone who has spent any time studying this subject.


"Redundancy does not increase information, it only makes it more secure."

When a gene duplicates, which is not a rare occurrence, the second gene serves no function. It is free to evolve, purely randomly, with no effect on the individual, until it arrives at a "code" that causes effect. Whether that effect is negative or positive, there has been an increase in information.

If it is positive, you have a transferable trait that can be part of the population's evolution.

There are many such routes.

The rest of the post is as full of baseless assertions as this first one.

Nov 13, 2014
original essay
by: Anonymous

A very interesting article abstract. The original essay can be found here

one of the first papers which I have seen which tries to quantify complexity in biological terms.

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