Ross Anderson, B.A., M.B.S., Ph.D. , gave a presentation titled, "EARLY DELVELOPMENT OF THE FRUIT FLY: Evidence of Design and Forethought."
Summary: When one looks around at all the man-made objects, one knows, almost instinctively, that they are designed. All such objects originate in the mind of someone, then eventually make it to market. All the objects are designed with a purpose in mind and are built according to the specifications of the designer to carry out the purpose.
When we view nature and the many living creatures, great and small, we are constantly told that they are the result of random chance events taking place over large spans of time; there is nothing about them that suggests purposeful design. However, when we look at the very early stages, even before fertilization, of a creature that seems so small and insignificant as a fruit fly, we see clear evidence of purposeful design and forethought. If we can clearly see this in a fruit fly, then we can have greater confidence that we, as humans, are purposefully designed and the evidences are clearly seen by any one who has an open, objective mind.
Jim Pamplin comments: In multi-cellular organisms, like fruit flies and humans, every cell contains the same DNA, yet, during development from fertilized ovum to maturity, cells differentiate into many different kinds, (muscle cells, nerve cells, blood cells and blood vessel cells, etc.). Somehow, each cell becomes informed of its position in the body plan/life plan, in terms of both physical location and time, and develops accordingly. Though all cells share the same DNA, which portions of the DNA are activated and when and to what degree they are activated is controlled by "epigenetic" gene regulators.
Dr. Anderson's presentation showed how, beginning in a fruit fly's egg chamber, regions at each end of the chamber produce different chemical signalling factors. Say, for example, cells at the north end of an egg chamber produce signalling factor A, while cells at the south end produce signalling factor B. The concentration of A will weaken with distance from the cells that produce Factor A at the north end of the egg chamber; likewise, the concentration of B weakens with distance from the south end of the egg chamber. By sensing the ratio of A/B concentrations, first the egg, then later new cells in a growing zygote "know" where they are between the north and south ends of the egg chamber. While all cells have the same DNA, each cell receives different data via differing chemical concentration ratios. Software coded in the DNA accepts the data and processes its pre-programmed instructions accordingly, throttling up some genes and their gene products and throttling down others, differentiating the structure and chemical activity of the cell.
Alas, besides Factors A and B from the north and south ends of the egg chamber, there are also signalling factors emanating from the top and bottom and from the right and left sides of the egg chamber. Concentration gradient ratios from all these factors (and many others) divide the space inside the egg chamber into a complex combinatoric matrix. Every location inside that space receives location-specific data, which regulate gene expression inside the cells that come to occupy that location.
But wait, there's more! Cells within the differentiating embryo also produce signalling factors. So, once the fertilized egg is expelled from the egg chamber, it continues to develop and differentiate according to God's exquisitely designed body plan/life plan software.
About our speaker: Dr. Anderson’s expertise is in the area of biochemistry and molecular biology. He has taught Biochemistry and helped to direct research projects of graduate and medical students at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. Dr. Anderson was a post-doctoral researcher in the Molecular Genetics Division of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Houston Neurosensory Center.
Dr. Anderson was a member of both the undergraduate and graduate faculty at Lamar University, Beaumont, TX. There he taught and directed the research activities of undergraduates and Masters of Science degree candidates in Biology.
Dr. Anderson’s research interests include structure-function studies of DNA polymerizing enzymes and the synthesis and expression of synthetic human genes in bacterial hosts. He has authored or co-authored several publications in major, peer-reviewed journals. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and Sigma Xi Research Society. Dr. Anderson was recently inducted into Logos Research Associates as a research scientist. Logos Research Associates is a fellowship of scientists and scholars, dedicated to the proposition that good science affirms Scripture.