DNA's Extraordinary Data-Storage Capacity
Modern technological progress in the field of data storage is truly amazing. Computer hard discs, CDs, diskettes, data sticks and similar products are becoming more advanced and efficient every day. Computer firms are seeking answers to how the maximum amount of data can be stored in the minimum space without being impaired, and how that information can be downloaded in the fastest possible manner. Even though whole encyclopedias of data can be compressed onto a single CD, it is still large enough to cover your hand. The astonishing data-miniaturizing or data-compression ability of DNA, on the other hand, far surpasses modern technology. According to calculations by Leonard Adleman of Los Angeles South California University, just 1 gram (0.0022 pounds) of DNA can contain the equivalent amount of data to 1 trillion CDs.38 This shows that data are concealed in a million, million times more efficiently in DNA than in a CD.39
The volume of a human being's DNA is 3 billionths of a cubic millimeter (3 x 10-9 mm3).40 According to G. G. Simpson, if all the features of all the species that have ever lived were to be loaded onto DNA, the resulting total volume of DNA would fill only a small part of a teaspoon. Enough space would even be left over the rest of the teaspoon to contain all the books that have ever been written.41
Dr. Leonard Adleman, the inventor of the DNA computer, which represents a new sphere of technology, says this about the mechanism in DNA and the cell:
According to Darwinists, however, this giant data bank in the cell –capable of holding the equivalent of tens of thousands of books– came into being spontaneously as the result of chance. In the eyes of Darwinists, who have no qualms about building another total impossibility on top of that one, chance has compressed all the data in a library large enough to fill an entire football stadium, undamaged, into a space too small to be seen with the naked eye. Darwinists still blindly advocate such a total impossibility. Yet neither the cell nor DNA, its data bank, can emerge from the chance combination of unconscious atoms. Even the very smallest components of living things have been created for a specific purpose, and every one of them are far too complex to admit any possibility of chance.
Michael George Pitman, a professor of biology from University of Sydney, uses the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer's words to express how life is not just a collection of inanimate substances:
If we were to express the volume of data in DNA in numerical terms, then a 4-meter (13.12-foot) long DNA molecule has been packaged and compressed into a cell only 3 to 5 microns in diameter (1 micron = 1/1000 millimeter). If the DNA codes in every one of the body's 100 trillion cells were laid out end to end, the resulting length would stretch to the Sun and back 600 times.44 Prof. Jerry Bergman, known for his scientific papers, emphasizes the engineering in DNA in an analogy:
Suppose you were asked to take two long strands of fisherman's monofilament line –125 miles [201 kilometers] long– then form it into a double-helix structure and neatly fold and pack this line so it would fit into a basketball. Furthermore, you would need to ensure that the double helix could be unzipped and duplicated along the length of this line, and the duplicate copy removed, all without tangling the line. Possible? This is directly analogous to what happens in the billions of cells in your body every day. Scale the basketball down to the size of a human cell and the line scales down to six feet [2 meters] of DNA. . . . The DNA packing process is both complex and elegant and is so efficient that it achieves a reduction in length of DNA by a factor of 1 million. 45
The molecular biologist Michael Denton describes the extraordinary nature of DNA's data compression ability:
DNA's ability to hold information is so efficient that all the data concerning to a human being can be compressed into an area weighing just a few trillionths of a gram.47 According to Yale University's Prof. George Gaylord Simpson, the data belonging 1 billion living things can be squeezed with ease into a single grain of salt.48 Prof. Francis S. Collins, a physicist and geneticist and also director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, describes the results of his study of DNA:
The well-known molecular biologist Michael Denton mentions that biological information to be packed into the tiny volume of the cell nucleus seems to be specifically arranged for human beings.50 If DNA did not have this data compression ability, the cell would have to be very much larger in order to hold irregular DNA strips. But it is impossible for cells to be any larger, because the cell's sources of oxygen and nutrients are efficient only given the existing diameter of the cell.51 From that point of view, the cell's size and therefore, its ability to hold DNA, is of vital importance..
This glorious packaging system is made possible by the DNA molecule's ability to coil and form long spirals that bend and give rise to intertwined, regular helixes. This packaging technology evidencing highly advanced engineering, can be seen in the nucleus of every cell. By means of this packaging system that our Almighty Lord created in our cells, millions of kilometers of DNA "letters" remain contained in a volume we cannot see with the naked eye.
The Giant Encyclopedia in the Human Cell
So extraordinary is the amount of information recorded in DNA that a single DNA molecule contains enough information to fill a million encyclopedia pages. To put that another way, 1,000,000 pages of data that control the functioning of the human body have been encoded inside the nucleus of every cell. You can obtain a better idea of this amount when you consider that even the 23-volume Encyclopedia Britannica, has only 25,000 pages. This gives rise to an extraordinary picture. Inside the nucleus, itself far smaller than the microscopic cell in which it is contained; is a data bank 40 times larger than one of the largest encyclopedias on Earth, equivalent to a 920-volume encyclopedia. Research has shown that this giant encyclopedia contains some 5 billion different pieces of information. Let's repeat those two words, "contains information"
We now need to stop and think about what this means. It is easy enough to say that a cell contains billions of pieces of information. However, we are discussing not a computer or a library, but an area 100 times smaller than a millimeter made up solely of protein, fat and water molecules. It would be astonishing for only a single piece of information, let alone millions, to be contained inside this tiny molecule. Moreover, books and encyclopedias are inert and inanimate. Someone possessed of consciousness needs to read the information and act on the instructions it contains. Yet DNA is a living source of information that does not just contain data, but also uses that information and acts upon it.
How can a chain consisting of atoms arranged one behind the other, in a space just a billionth of a millimeter in diameter, possess such knowledge and memory? While each of the 100 trillion cells in your body are capable of learning a million pages by heart, how many pages could you –an intelligent individual– learn during the course of your lifetime? Any rational person will conclude that the cell is the work of a superior mind and superior knowledge. It is impossible, as evolutionists maintain, for DNA to have arisen by chance in one single cell, let alone in an organism consisting of billions. Almighty Allah (is the Creator of all things. Allah reveals in one verse of the Qur'an as follows:
They do not measure Allah with His true measure. Allah is All-Strong, Almighty. (Surat al-Hajj, 74)
The Data Storage Technology in DNA Is Greater Than That of Computers
The computer is the most advanced technology through which large quantities of information can be stored. The information possessed by room-sized computers 50 years ago can now be stored on small discs. Yet the latest computer technology, developed by human intelligence as the result of centuries of accumulated knowledge and many years of effort, comes nowhere near to approaching the data-storage capacity of DNA.
A strand of DNA is only one 2 millionth of a millimeter in thickness. Despite this extraordinary thinness and the fact it is 4 meters (13.12 feet) long, DNA strips never become tangled up with one another. Thanks to its special structure, the DNA is folded up perfectly inside the cell's nucleus - an example of incomparable engineering. One of the main goals of computer engineers is to be able to store as much information as possible in as small a space as possible. At present, the highest level storage capacity on Earth is that belonging to DNA molecule.52 In his book , The Road Ahead, Bill Gates, the president of Microsoft, writes:
The well-known American philosopher Prof. Daniel Dennet describes the density of information contained in DNA in his book Darwin's Dangerous Idea:
The sequencing of the codes in DNA resembles that of the digits in a computer system. The numbers in a computer environment can contain an image, the instructions for a computer game, or the text of a book. The codes in DNA contain information that serves to produce new proteins.55 But no computer engineer can imitate DNA, which contains sufficient information to fill a million encyclopedia pages in a space invisible to the naked eye. To claim that DNA emerged by chance is even more irrational than maintaining that the most advanced computers could have done so. DNA exhibits evident proofs of Allah's sublime creation. Allah reveals this matchless creation in the Qur'an:
He is the Originator of the heavens and the Earth… (Surat al-An'am, 101)
Astonishing Comparisons That Elucidate the Giant Data Capacity in DNA
Instead of using units of measurement, scientists resort to various comparisons to emphasize the vast amount of genetic data in human beings. Here are some examples that stress the breadth of the data capacity in DNA:
*** If the information in the human genome could be written down using the alphabet, it would fill 1,000 books of 1,000 pages each, each page containing 3,000 letters.56
1,000 books times 1,000 pages times 3,000 letters equals 3,000,000,000 (3 billion) letters.
*** If those 3 billion letters in the human genome were written out as a single sentence, it would stretch from the North Pole to the Equator. Someone working at a typewriter at a rate of 300 letters per minute for 8 hours a day, 220 days a year, would take 95 years to complete the task.57
*** For the genetic information to be written out would require 12,000 160-page books. Compared with computer chips with a 16 MB capacity (a megabyte is 1 million bytes, the smallest data units in a computer), the DNA strip in the human genome contains 1,400 times more information.58
*** If a pinhead 2 millimeters (0.078 of an inch) in diameter were stretched out to the thinness of the DNA molecule, it would be 33 times longer than the Equator.59
*** The information in DNA is sufficient to fill a library consisting of 100 sets of a 30-volume encyclopedia.60
*** Were the information in DNA to be placed in books piled one on top of the other, those books would attain a height of 70 meters (229 feet). Alternatively, that information could fill 200 phone books of 500 pages each.61
*** If the DNA in all the cells in the human body were flattened out and laid end to end, they would stretch for some 50,000,000 kilometers (31,070,000 miles.) That distance is enough to go from the Earth to the Solar System. Light would take approximately two days to travel the entire length of the DNA in your body.62
*** According to professor Jérôme Lejeune, a genetics expert, the genetic data belonging to all the human beings on Earth could be contained in a quantity of DNA no larger than a few aspirin tablets.63
***The information in the DNA in a single human cell could fill 1 million encyclopedia pages. Individuals could not live long enough to read their own genetic data. Where they to read the DNA code every day, 24 hours a day, non-stop, it would take 100 years to complete the task.
*** To envisage the density of the data in the DNA molecule, assume that you have enough DNA to cover a pinhead. Now consider that this same information is written down in books of 160 pages each. The data in such a small amount of DNA could fill 15 trillion (15 times 1012) of those 160-page books. If you placed that many books one on top of the other, their height would be 500 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon (384,000 kilometers, or 238,600 miles). Alternatively, if these books were equally distributed among the 6 billion or so people in the world, every individual would receive 2,500 volumes.64
The boundless information that these examples try to express is stored inside every cell nucleus. The presence of DNA, storing the equivalent amount of information to a large library, in some 100 trillion cells, means 100 trillion of these libraries. Were we to compare that level of information with the level so far achieved by mankind, we would be unable to find an example sufficiently large. In addition, if we multiplied that quantity by the 6 billion people currently living on the Earth and the billions of others who lived in the past, a boundless quantity of data would appear before us. Moreover, we are now speaking only of human genetic information. Bearing in mind the genetic information possessed by the millions of living creatures that have ever existed, the level rises to heights that exceed comprehension. The knowledge that our Omniscient and Almighty Lord has manifested in DNA leaves absolutely no room for claims based on chance. In one verse, it is stated that:
Rather We hurl the truth against falsehood and it cuts right through it and it vanishes clean away! Woe without end for you for what you portray! (Surat al-Anbiya, 18)
DNA Is an Example of the Artistry and Intellect of Allah, the Lord of Infinite Knowledge
The basic claims of the theory of evolution are based on blind chance, which cannot give rise to information. If the chemical formula for a drug that cures cancer is written down one day, all the authorities would join forces to identify the discoverers and even give them an award. Nobody would wonder if that formula was the result of ink being spilled on the page, Any rational mind would think that it could have been written only by someone with expertise in chemistry, physiology, oncology (the branch of medicine that studies cancer) and pharmacology (the branch that studies drugs).
Evolutionists seek to account for the origin of the information in DNA in terms of chance, which is even more illogical than claiming that the page you are reading was formed by coincidence. The detailed molecular formula for every one of the 100,000 types of proteins in the body and the instructions to be followed during their production are all encoded in DNA. Also encoded in DNA are the communication protocols to be adhered to in communications between cells, the production of messenger hormones to be used, and countless other varieties of information.
To maintain that DNA and the boundless information it contains came into being spontaneously is a serious collapse of logic. Gene Myers, one expert on the subject from Celera Genomics, the company that carried out the Human Genome Project, expresses the extraordinary nature of the information in DNA:
Evolutionists' claims regarding the origin of DNA quoted in later sections of this book are full of such expressions as "an unsolved secret." Sometimes, as Myers did, attempts are made to account for DNA's this extraordinary nature in terms of a huge intelligence. This intelligence, which some scientists are unable to put into words but which deeply impresses them, reflects the infinite wisdom and knowledge of our Almighty Lord, Allah. One verse from the Qur'an reads:
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the Earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon Light. Allah guides to His Light whoever He wills and Allah makes metaphors for humanity and Allah has knowledge of all things. (Surat an-Nur, 35)
38. John Whitfield, "Physicists Plunder Life's Tool Chest", Nature, 24 April 2003.
39. Carl Wieland, "The Marvellous 'Message Molecule'", Creation,September 1995, Vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 10-13; [New Scientist, 26 November 1994, p. 17.]
40. Werner Gitt, The Wonder of Man, p. 75.
41. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Burnett Books, London, 1985, p. 334; [G. G. Simpson, "The History of Life", Evolution of Life, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1960, p. 135.]
42. John Whitfield, "Physicists Plunder Life's Tool Chest", Nature, 24 April 2003.
43. Michael Pitman, Adam and Evolution, River Publishing, London, 1984, pp. 26-27.
45.Dr. Jerry Bergman, "Divine Engineering: Unraveling DNA's Design", Koinonia House Online; http://www.khouse.org/articles/technical/19971201-143.html
46. Michael J. Denton, Nature's Destiny, pp. 212-213.
47. Ibid., p. 154.
49. Francis S. Collins, "Faith and the Human Genome Project", Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 55, no. 3, September 2003, pp. 145-146.
50. Michael J. Denton, Nature's Destiny, p. 381.
51. Ibid., p.154.
52. Werner Gitt, The Wonder of Man, p. 75.
53. Billl Gates, The Road Ahead, Penguin, London, 1996, p. 188.
54. Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Touchstone, New York, 1996, p. 151.
55. David S. Goodsell, The Machinery of Life, Springer-Verlag, New York Inc., 1993, p. 14.
56. Werner Gitt, The Wonder of Man, p. 75.
60. Carl Wieland, "The Marvellous 'Message Molecule'", Creation, September 1995, Vol 17, no. 4, pp. 10-13.
62. Lee Spetner, Not By Chance, Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution, p. 30.
63. Carl Wieland, "The Marvellous 'Message Molecule'", Creation, [Jérôme Lejeune, Anthropotes (Revista di studi sulfa persona e la famiglia), Istituto Giovanni Paolo 11, Rome, 1989, pp. 269-270.]
64. Werner Gitt, The Wonder of Man, p 75.
65. Tom Abate, "Human Genome Map Has Scientists Talking About the Divine Surprisingly Low Number of Genes Raises Big Questions", San Francisco Chronicle, 19 February 2001.