Suppose (in the days before genomes) it is found that a relatively "simple" life form such as the fern is found to have twice as many genes as a humans. Does that mean the fern is more complex than humans? And what mechanisms might account for the human body seemingly doing more with less genes?Having taken the course all semester I had a ready answer. Ian Taylor, would have been completely flummoxed, as demonstrated by his response to such a situation.
The puzzle arises with the discovery that the fruit fly has between 13,000 and 14,000 genes. The lowly roundworm, said by evolution to be among the first land creatures, should be genetically simple, yet it has over 18,000 genes. The genetic differences between the worm and the fly speak of design.Or ... wait, calm down Ian, or ... wait please, you'll get your turn ... or it could be that the number of genetic coding regions may not reflect the number of protein products. Because of alternative splicing. Or post-translational modification. Or transcriptional regulation. Or RNA silencing. Or epigenetic control. Or development control.
Seriously, do they ever consider the possibility that they just might be, perhaps, a little bit, just a scoch, wrong about something?