Students ask: “Is the human genome really the result of…mistakes?”

Is the amazing ‘code of life’ in each of our cells a result of random chance mistakes? According to your 10th grader’s biology textbook, yes!

According to 7th and 10th grade California textbooks, the human genome is a result of genetic mistakes.

According to 7th and 10th grade California textbooks, the human genome is a result of genetic mistakes.

“Where did the roughly 25,000 working genes in the human genome come from?,” the textbook Biology by Miller & Levine asks students. “Modern genes probably descended from a much smaller number of genes in the earliest life forms. But how could that have happened? One way in which new genes evolve is through the duplication, and then modification, of existing genes.”1

The textbook then offers this illustration, “Think about using your computer to write an essay for English class. You then want to submit a new version of the essay to your school newspaper. So, you make an extra copy of the original file and edit it for the newspaper. Duplicate genes can work in similar ways. Sometimes extra copies undergo mutations that change their function. The original gene is still around, just like the original copy of your English essay. So, new genes can evolve without affecting the original gene function or product.”2

At this point, we need to stop reading and ask a few questions:

  • Can this process explain where the original genes came from?
  • Are any truly “new” genes actually being created?
  • Can meaningful information, like what is coded for by genes, be created without an intelligent mind behind it?
  • Can mutations really ‘re-program’ genes for new functions?
  • Is it really reasonable to believe that the copy would be modified, but not the original?

The answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No!” First, this process begins with genes already in existence! It doesn’t explain the origin of the first genes. Second, the ultimate result of this process is copies of already-existing genes, not totally ‘new’ genes. Third, meaningful information always comes from an intelligent source, and has never been observed to come from matter, so the idea that totally new genes coding for entirely new structures came into existence by themselves is preposterous.3

Fourth, the truth about mutations, as stated in the textbook, is that, “Most of those mutations [that we inherit from our parents] are neutral [cause no significant change]. One or two are potentially harmful.” While only, “A few may be beneficial.”4 Yet, even those rare ‘beneficial’ mutations, like those which cause anti-biotic resistance in bacteria, are a result of the destruction or loss of already-existing information.5 Ultimately, mutations can only scramble, corrupt, and destroy genes that already exist; they cannot make the kinds of careful, purposeful changes like those made to an essay by an intelligent editor.

Lastly, if left to time and chance, mutations would most certainly corrupt the original genes in addition to the duplicates. Eventually, this would lead to ‘mutation meltdown,’ with the creature going extinct due to massive amounts of missing and broken information. The fact that genomes still exist at all is a testimony to a recent creation.6

So, is it really reasonable to believe that the thousands of genes used in the construction of a human being were created by chance mistakes? Absolutely not! Rather, the fact that information can only come from an intelligent source requires that our genome must have been the product of a thoughtful, brilliant Creator.

Free Resources for Further Learning:

The Language of DNA Video

Are Mutations Part of the “Engine” of Evolution?

Information: Evidence for a Creator?

Mutation Buildup Indicates Living Populations Are Young


1Miller, Kenneth R., and Joseph S. Levine. Miller & Levine Biology. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2006. 499. Print.

2Ibid, 500.

3Gitt, Werner W. In the Beginning Was Information: A Scientist Explains the Incredible Design in Nature.Green Forest, AR: Master, 2005. 106. Print.

4Miller & Levine, 484.

5Purdom, Georgia. “What about Beneficial Mutations?” The New Answers Book 4: Over 30 Questions on Creation/evolution and the Bible. By Ken Ham. Green Forest, AR: Master, 2013. 289-303. Print.

6Sanford, John C. Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome. Waterloo, NY: FMS Publications, 2008. Print.