Sunday, 18 March 2018

Chromosome 2 and Human Evolution - a new series of educational videos by Darrel Falk

Darrel Falk, emeritus professor of biology at Point Loma Nazarene University past president of BioLogos has created a three part video series on human chromosome 2, its origin from a fusion of two chromosomes homologous to ape chromosomes 2p and 2p, and how this provides evidence for common descent. In addition, the video series also answers objections as to how the first individuals with such a fused chromsome could have survived, how the fused chromosome became fixed in the ancestral gene pool, and a few theological observations on the subject. Falk is uniquely placed to comment both as a Christian and as a biologist whose research career included the subject of chromosomal breakage.

Each video is short at under ten minutes, but is quite comprehensive in its subject matter. I cannot recommend them enough for the person wishing to understand why we know chromosome 2 is the product of a fusion event, and why it provides such strong evidence for common descent.

I have included the three references cited in the second video below for those interested in following up the subject. In addition, the remaining references contain some of the classic papers on the subject, dating back to the 1980s, as well as commentary on the subject debunking special creationist attempts to explain away the evidence.


1. Lori L. Sullivan, Kimberline Chew & Beth A. Sullivan (2017) α satellite DNA variation and function of the human centromere, Nucleus, 8:4, 331-339
2. Giorgia Chiatante Giuliana Giannuzzi Francesco Maria Calabrese Evan E. Eichler Mario Ventura Centromere Destiny in Dicentric Chromosomes: New Insights from the Evolution of Human Chromsome 2 Ancestral Centromeric Region. Molecular Biology and Evolution, Volume 34, Issue 7, 1 July 2017, Pages 1669–1681
3. Beth A. Sullivan, Daynna J. Wolff, Stuart Schwartz Analysis of centromeric activity in Robertsonian translocations: implications for a functional acrocentric hierarchy Chromosoma (1994) 103:459–467
4. Yunis J.J. Prakash O, "The origin of man: a chromosomal pictorial legacy". Science (1982) 215:1525–1530.
5. IJdo JW, Baldini A, Ward DC, Reeders ST, Wells RA, Origin of human chromosome 2: an ancestral telomere-telomere fusion. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1991) 88:9051-5
6. Avarello R et al "Evidence for an ancestral alphoid domain on the long arm of human chromosome 2" Hum Genet (1992) 89:247-9
9. Hunt A "The Rise of Chromosome 2: The Fertility Problem" The Panda's Thumb February 8th 2009
10. Hawks, J "The fused chromosome 2 was in Denisova" John Hawks Weblog 1st Sep 2012 
11. Zimmer C "The Mystery of the Missing Chromosome (With A Special Guest Appearance from Facebook Creationists)" The Loom July 19, 2012
12. Venema D "Denisovans, Humans, and the Chromosome 2 Fusion" BioLogos September 6, 2012
13. Venema D "Evolution Basics: Genomes as Ancient Texts" BioLogos June 27, 2013