Crayfish Self Replicating

A fairly recent article on the BBC news website introduced me to a species of crayfish which is doing something very unique. The females do not need males to reproduce. They simply clone themselves. This kind of reproduction happens in bacteria and other microbes fairly regularly but for it to happen in a recognizable animal is rare enough to merit mention on a major news network website. Evolutionists and feminists immediately seized on the little crayfish. Evolutionists claimed it as evidence for their theory, feminists claimed it as a member of their movement. This article will attempt to make sense of the the evolutionary claims and leave the feminist ones to the politicians.

The crayfish in question is a variation of the marbled crayfish, known to science as Procambarus fallax forma virginalis. Scientists are in the process of updating this name to reflect the new, all-female species. The new name will likely be Procambarus virginalis. The species originated in the German pet crayfish trade in the mid-1990s. One of the marbled crayfish kept in an aquarium was born with an extra set of chromosomes, a condition known as triploidy.  This female crayfish was able to reproduce apart from any contact with males, and it did so. At first, the aquarium industry was delighted. However, as the crayfish continued to multiply, aquarists began to have problems disposing of the new species. Many found their way into local creeks and ponds and simply took over. 

Of interest to evolutionists is the fact that there was a new species formed. Many evolutionary laymen and even some scientists have called this new species evidence of molecules to man evolution.  The fact that it can clone itself is considered evidence that mutations can be beneficial. Evolutionists trumpeted this so loudly that I decided to take a quick look into their claims and see just how valid they were.

Let us first examine the beneficial mutation aspect of this argument. Is the ability to clone oneself beneficial? The answer to that is purely situational. In situations where there is no available male crayfish, the ability of the female to clone herself and produce offspring that way is incredibly useful. However, if males are available, cloning is incredibly bad for the species long term. The reason for this has to do with mutations and DNA. Every time DNA is replicated such as in reproduction or cloning, a few new errors are introduced. Most of these errors are completely benign but the odd one or two is dangerous to the species. This is why we see humans born with no arms.  A genetic defect occurred which prevented DNA from coding for arms. Most of the time, these defects are masked. The reason for this is that a child in normal reproduction receives DNA from both mom and dad, one copy from each. If there is a mistake on a given section of mom’s DNA, odds are dad’s DNA will have that section right and thus the mistake will be hidden. This works for mistakes on dad’s DNA too. However, if the same DNA is being repeatedly copied as it is in cloning, the mistakes will gradually pile up until the species essentially becomes a bundle of deleterious mutations, just barely functional. Given enough time, the mutations will reach a point where the species will go extinct. Essentially by removing male crayfish, cloning allows for runaway mutations which harm the species in the long run. Thus cloning could be considered situationally beneficial, but not for the long term of the species.

The other claim that evolutionists were making was that the formation of a new species was evidence for their theory.  However, the species arose instantly, something that is in opposition to the long periods of time their theory demands. Further, there was no information added. In fact, information was not even changed to make this species. It simply got a third copy of its entire genome. This third copy is identical to the other two copies.  So no new information is added to the genome, at all. Claiming this as evidence for evolution is equivalent to writing a two-page paper, and stapling an extra copy of the first page to it before turning it in as a three-page paper. No teacher would ever consider that a three-page paper, yet evolutionists want us to consider an extra copy of the genome as evidence for their theory.  The marbled crayfish is still a crayfish. A new species, yes, but a new species is not proof that bacteria evolved into man. Species arise and go extinct regularly.  If the crayfish had turned into a fish, the evolutionists might have evidence for their claims, but by remaining a crayfish, this mutant species does nothing to support their claims.

The marbled crayfish is a truly bizarre creature, the only crayfish know to reproduce by cloning. However, whether the mutation that allows it to do so is beneficial is debatable at best. Claiming it as evidence for evolution is also a significant stretch as it has the exact same genome as its parent species, simply an extra copy of everything.  While this extra copy appears to confer extra functionality, this is not evidence of any form of progression from molecules to man. Instead of discussing this species as evidence for evolution, it would be better to discover how having a third copy of the genome makes this crayfish able to clone itself.



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