One of the strangest, most unique life forms ever discovered is the Pandoraviruses. Pandoraviruses are a fairly recent discovery and come with incredibly different traits and abilities. They also have provided a puzzle for evolutionary biologists attempting to classify them in the evolutionary tree of life. They are vastly different than other viruses and yet are clearly not bacteria. This article will introduce Pandoraviruses, and explain their place in the origins debate.
Pandoraviruses are something of an enigma to evolutionary biologists. They are much larger than a typical virus, at approximately 1000 nanometers long. A typical virus ranges from 50-100 nanometers in length. Because they are so large, Pandoraviruses were once mistaken for bacteria. Pandoraviruses are parasites of single-celled organisms called amoebas. They enter the amoeba alongside the amoebas food, then hijack its ability to reproduce. Instead of replicating into a new amoeba, the Pandoravirus causes the amoeba to produce thousands of Pandoraviruses. The amoeba then self-destructs, allowing the Pandoraviruses to go out in search of a new amoeba host to start the process over again. This is typical of viruses. However, Pandoravirus similarities with typical viruses stop there.
Most viruses have a very small gene pool, of around twenty to thirty different genes. Pandoraviruses have over 2500 genes. While unique, this would not be notable, were it not for the fact that ninety-three percent of the Pandoravirus genome is unique. Evolutionary biologists admit that they cannot trace the ancestry of ninety-three percent of the Pandoravirus genome. Further, evolutionary scientists have recently hypothesized that Pandoraviruses are actually capable of creating their own genes. If this hypothesis is true, then it is a massive breakthrough for evolutionary theory, which struggles to explain the arrival of new genetic material.
If Pandoraviruses can create new genes, as the evolutionists hypothesize, two things can be true. The first is that the ninety-three percent of genes that are untraceable evolutionarily suddenly become irrelevant. They no longer even affect the evolutionary tree of life. Further, and this is perhaps even more important to the evolutionist, this could explain the origin of new information. This is huge because one of the biggest arguments against evolution is the impossibility of new information arising. Thus it is wise to question whether this hypothesis has merit or is simply a desperate reach for an answer.
The hypothesis proposed is based on a study of what are called orphan genes in the Pandoravirus genome. Orphan genes are genes that code for proteins with no real equivalents in other organisms. Pandoraviruses have a very high percentage of orphan genes in their genome, which is not surprising given how many genes Pandoraviruses have. However, what evolutionists point out is that the orphan genes closely resemble non-coding sections of the Pandoraviruses genetic code. Evolutionists have used this similarity to claim that Pandoraviruses have the ability to create their own genes as they have no other explanation for the existence of these orphan genes.
The issue evolutionists have with the purported ability of Pandoraviruses to create new genes is that there is no evidence of this occurring. None. Evolutionists are assuming the evolutionary tree of life to be true. Because they have made this assumption, they then assume that there is no possible way orphan genes could arise apart from evolution. Therefore, because they are similar to the non-coding regions of the Pandoravirus genome, they must have been created from them. This is interesting because of what it implies. Essentially, evolutionists are admitting, tacitly to be sure, that existing information is required to make new information. They assume this in order to claim Pandoraviruses can make their own genome, and they assume correctly. However, their entire theory requires that information come from something other than information or an informer in the beginning. The assumption and their theory are at cross-purposes with each other. A further issue is that similarity does not equal ancestry. I’m sure most people have seen pictures on the internet of celebrities who look a lot like some other celebrity they aren’t related to, or even a random person from the street. The orphan genes can be thought of along the same lines.
Pandoraviruses are unique finds and do raise very interesting questions about viruses. However, they do not create new genes. Their orphan genes come from their design by God to fulfill the purpose each gene has assigned to it. In ignoring this possibility, evolutionists do science a disservice and undermine their credibility. Pandoraviruses are unique virions which were designed to function just as they do, with the genes they have.