Last One in the Gene Pool… | Sojourners

Last One in the Gene Pool…

Congratulations to genetic scientists who have finally proven that humans are more highly developed than roundworms. (Working on the human genome project, scientists also believe we're more complex than the mustard plant, but they're still checking to be sure.)

The reason for the comparison is that humans have roughly the same number of genes as the roundworm, although ours produce more proteins and work harder. (Which might come as a surprise to those who thought a similarity to lower life forms explains why teen-agers listen to The Backstreet Boys, one of the current crop of so-called "boy bands" who, ironically, sound like girls. Admittedly, my generation also listened to boy bands, and when Frankie Valli sang "Walk Like a Man" in his trademark falsetto, it sounded more like "Walk Like a Man Just Hit by an Under-thrown Fastball."
But I digress.)

Now, it's no surprise to me that humans are smarter than roundworms (Losers!), and, although there are a couple of people at the office who have much in common with mustard plants, I think this is pretty good evolutionary news. In fact, I feel vindicated in my childhood hopes that the roundworm toughs at my high school would one day regret the unkind things they said to me. (I prayed they'd have to eat their words—although, as it turns out, they don't so much eat them as secrete an enzyme that is then re-absorbed through their outer membranes.)

Not surprising, roundworms took the news hard and complained that this was just another in a long series of indignities they have endured throughout history. Bad enough that Jesus chose the mustard seed for an important analogy—they always felt "the Kingdom of God is like a roundworm" had a much better ring to it—but this latest slight was a little hard to swallow (although, again, if you're paying attention, they don't actually swallow).

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 2001
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