Question 62: Is new information added to DNA during the time of adaptation in living beings? Can the addition of new information to DNA through adaptation not be seen under the microscope? Why do researches make different interpretations?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Answer: Adaptation means conformity with the environment. Every being has three values that it shows toward every environmental factor in the habitat that it lives as maximum, minimum and optimum. Factors like heat, temperature and light are the main environmental factors. For instance, let us think of the orange tree. Let us think that the temperature that it develops the most and gives the most fruit is 25 degrees; the minimum temperature that it can tolerate is minus 20 degrees and the highest temperature that it can tolerate is 70 degrees.

If living beings are grown facing the environmental factors with the maximum and minimum values, they develop some differences in their structure compared to the ones grown in optimum values. When we grow the orange tree in an environment near the maximum value, that is, near 70 degrees, the leaves will get smaller and fuzzy in order to bear the heat. It will get smaller and fuzzy if it has those properties in its genetic structure. Then, there will be differences between the leaves of the orange tree growing in optimum conditions in terms of temperature and the leaves of the orange tree growing in maximum conditions in terms of size and fuzziness. That difference that is obtained is adaptation.

Is this orange growing in the maximum environmental conditions a new species? If you regard small leaves and fuzziness as characteristics of species, you can call it a new species. However, basically, this plant is still an orange. That is, a pear or a peach tree does not come out of an orange tree through adaptation because its genetic structure will not allow it. 

Man’s genetic structure, which contains all characteristics of man, remains the same throughout generations but it is also seen that the environment causes some effects on the individual, lasting at least throughout life. It is understood that every effect that causes the change of methyl or ethyl groups affects the life of the individual directly or indirectly. When they are taken into consideration, it is understood that not only the types and shapes of the food but also whether the food taken is halal or haram can cause changes in the epigenetic structure of man.

The importance and results of the epigenetic structure

Epigenetics means changes in the expression of genes in an organism without any change during DNA base, and hence the changes related to genetics that occur in the phenotype of this organism or its cells. In epigenetic events, there is no change in the base sequence of the DNA of the organism. Instead, some non-genetic factors enable the genes of the organism to express themselves and behave differently. As a result, differences in the phenotype (external appearance) of the organism or cell are seen.

There are two main sources of epigenetic changes. They are as follows:

1-DNA methylations.

2-Histon modifications.

Both events are effective in the formation and remodeling of the structure of chromatin fiber, which consists of DNA and histones. Therefore, the control of gene expression is carried out through these two basic events.

DNA methylation is a key factor in the formation and remodeling of the chromatin structure, along with the modifications of histones. Changes in the chromatin structure as a result of histone modifications enable the cell to obtain many features that will be necessary in the life of the multicellular organism.

DNA methylation is an important factor in the regulation of gene transcription. When genes cannot express their structures, it is called gene silencing. Numerous studies have been conducted showing that abnormal DNA methylation causes genes to silence unwantedly. Genes that have high levels of 5-methylcytosine in the promoter regions, that is, the genes whose cytosines have been methylated, are transcriptionally silenced genes and they are inexpressible.

During the development of an organism, a special group of molecules known as “morphogens” can activate a permanently silent gene epigenetically or can silence an active gene. Thus, they give the cell a memory. Various epigenetic structure systems play a role in the formation of cell memory.

Although epigenetic events are seen as a reason for differentiation in multicellular organisms, when these organisms grow, epigenetic changes are restored and they are not transferred to offspring. However, there are some observations showing that epigenetic changes continue for generations. For example, the paramutation seen in corn is such a hereditary epigenetic change. Some of these epigenetic changes are transferred for generations, while others tend to disappear after a while. It can be said that epigenetic changes are formed as an answer to environmental effects.

It is known that some epigenetic changes and heredity are carried to generations in prokaryotes, plants and animals. However, it is also possible for these changes to be restored.

Some abnormalities seen in humans are the result of genomic imprinting. Genomic imprinting is a condition that occurs in mammals, originating from the genes in the special gene regions of the mother and father’s sexual cells’ having different epigenetic characteristics. The best examples of human abnormalities induced by genomic imprinting-are Angelman syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. These abnormalities are a process toward the deterioration of the genetic structure in humans, not its improvement.

Can the addition of new information to DNA through adaptation not be seen under the microscope? Why do researches make different interpretations?

Those who are not competent in the issue probably liken making research in the structure of DNA to picking apples from an apple orchard. Consider a liquid as tiny as a thousandth of the size of a drop of water. It is easier to do research in this liquid drop than DNA. Structures shown as DNA forms are imagined DNA models. In fact, the structure of DNA consists of very tiny material that can be seen after being magnified thousands of times. Changes in DNA structure and some functions are tried to be shown through trial and error.

It is known that the food man ingests is known to influence his behavior

It is indicated both in hadiths and verses of the Quran that man needs to avoid haram food. It is often mentioned in the Quran that it is necessary to eat clean and halal things:

...He (the Prophet) commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure)....1

O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, Lawful and good....2

The following is stated in a hadith: If a person ingests a morsel of haram food, his prayers will not be accepted for forty days3

In hadiths, attention is attracted to the fact that the food affects the baby in the mother’s womb4:

Make pregnant women eat pears; it makes the baby have high ethics. Eating pears strengthens the heart, cleans the stomach, gives peace and enables the child to be brave and beautiful.5

The following is stated in another hadith: Make pregnant women eat sweetgum because it will be the food of the baby in the mother’s womb; it will enable the child to be brave and patient.6

Issues such as the body ingesting haram food not being willing to worship and the haram food having its effect for 40 days can be perceived as a sign of these epigenetic changes.

As a matter of fact, it is claimed by doctors and biologists that the foods eaten by man affect human behavior. Doctors advise expectant mothers to avoid the nutrition and lifestyle that will adversely affect the baby’s behavior in the world in order to develop a healthy baby in the mother’s womb. For example, it is stated that if the mother eats a lot of red meat when she is pregnant, it may negatively affect the sperm count of the baby in the future if it is male.7

Adaptation occurs without any change in the DNA structure of the living being when genetic effect mechanisms do not display the desired and expected effects due to the influence of the internal and external environment. They are sometimes transferred to offspring. Formations such as cancer are also a form of adaptation resulting from different decoding during the orientation of cell functions according to the genetic structure due to some reasons.

The issues that interest only specialized people

In facts, these issues are very special issues that interest only specialized people. The reason why other people are interested in those issues originates from the fact that positivist and materialist thinkers explain the past of man with such changes. Besides, the soul tries to find a way showing that man emerged coincidentally and randomly as a result of the differentiation of other living beings when the environmental conditions changed so that it will exclude Allah and ignore His commands and prohibitions. However, even the movement of an atom is not outside the scope of Allah’s knowledge, will and power. How can the emergence of man, who is the most honorable creature, be without His knowledge?

Denying Allah does not prevent one from going to the hereafter, but entering Paradise

Allah is not excluded when a person regards Him to be non-existent. It is like denying the existence of the sun. He who closes his eyes by refusing the existence of the sun makes it dark only for himself. Denying Allah and not accepting the hereafter does not prevent one from going to the hereafter, but entering Paradise.’raf, verse 157. , verse 168.
3.Sahih Bukhari: 6/357.
5.Kafi Vol. 6 p.357 seferceli.
7. 31.10.2011.

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