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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2005
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Claim CB101.2:

Mutations only vary traits that are already there. They do not produce anything new.


Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. 1985. Life--How Did It Get Here? Brooklyn, NY, p. 103.
Morris, Henry M. 1985. Scientific Creationism. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 51.


  1. Variation of traits is production of novelty, especially where there was no variation before. The accumulation of slight modifications is a basis of evolution.

  2. Documentation of mutations producing new features includes the following:
    There is evidence for mutations producing other novel proteins:
    Laboratory experiments with directed evolution indicate that the evolution of a new function often begins with mutations that have little effect on a gene's original function but a large effect on a second function. Gene duplication and divergence can then allow the new function to be refined. (Aharoni et al. 2004)

  3. For evolution to operate, the source of variation does not matter; all that matters is that heritable variation occurs. Such variation is shown by the fact that selective breeding has produced novel features in many species, including cats, dogs, pigeons, goldfish, cabbage, and geraniums. Some of the features may have been preexisting in the population originally, but not all of them were, especially considering the creationists' view that the animals originated from a single pair.


Max, Edward E. 1999. The evolution of improved fitness by random mutation plus selection.

Musgrave, Ian, Steven Pirie-Shepherd, and Douglas Theobald. 2003. Apolipoprotein AI mutations and information.

Thomas, Dave. n.d. Evolution and information: The nylon bug.


  1. Aharoni, A., L. Gaidukov, O. Khersonsky, S. McQ. Gould, C. Roodveldt and D. S. Tawfik. 2004. The 'evolvability' of promiscuous protein functions. Nature Genetics [Epub Nov. 28 ahead of print]
  2. Boraas, M. E. 1983. Predator induced evolution in chemostat culture. EOS 64: 1102.
  3. Boraas, M. E., D. B. Seale, and J. E. Boxhorn. 1998. Phagotrophy by a flagellate selects for colonial prey: A possible origin of multicellularity. Evolutionary Ecology 12: 153-164.
  4. Francis, J. E. and P. E. Hansche. 1972. Directed evolution of metabolic pathways in microbial populations. I. Modification of the acid phosphatase pH optimum in S. cerevisiae. Genetics 70: 59-73.
  5. Francis, J. E. and P. E. Hansche. 1973. Directed evolution of metabolic pathways in microbial populations. II. A repeatable adaptation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetics 74: 259-265.
  6. Hall, B. G. 1981. Changes in the substrate specificities of an enzyme during directed evolution of new functions. Biochemistry 20: 4042-4049.
  7. Hall, B. G. and T. Zuzel. 1980. Evolution of a new enzymatic function by recombination within a gene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 77(6): 3529-33.
  8. Hansche, P. E. 1975. Gene duplication as a mechanism of genetic adaptation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetics 79: 661-674.
  9. Hartley, B. S. 1984. Experimental evolution of ribitol dehydrogenase. In: Microorganisms as Model Systems for Studying Evolution, R. P. Mortlock, ed., New York: Plenum, pp. 23-54.
  10. Lang, D. et al. 2000. Structural evidence for evolution of the beta/alpha barrel scaffold by gene duplication and fusion. Science 289: 1546-1550. See also: Miles, E. W. and D. R. Davies, 2000. On the ancestry of barrels. Science 289: 1490.
  11. Lin, E. C. C. and T. T. Wu. 1984. Functional divergence of the L-Fucose system in mutants of Escherichia coli. In: Microorganisms as Model Systems for Studying Evolution, R. P. Mortlock, ed., New York: Plenum, pp. 135-164.
  12. Negoro, S., K. Kato, K. Fujiyama and H. Okada. 1994. The nylon oligomer biodegradation system of Flavobacterium and Pseudomonas. Biodegradation 5: 185-194.
  13. Thomas. n.d. (see above).
  14. Thwaites, W. M. 1985. New proteins without God's help. Creation/Evolution 5(2): 1-3.

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created 2003-7-3, modified 2004-12-17