Another Dawkins Whopper: The Universality of the Genetic Code
Since at least the publication of The Blind Watchmaker (1986), Richard Dawkins has claimed that the genetic code is universal across all organisms on earth. This is “near-conclusive proof,” he writes, that every living thing on this planet “descended from a single common ancestor” (1986, p. 270) at the root of Darwin’s universal tree of life.
More recently, Dawkins repeated the claim in his bestseller The Greatest Show On Earth (2009, p. 409):
…the genetic code is universal, all but identical across animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, archaea and viruses. The 64-word dictionary, by which three letter DNA words are translated into 20 amino acids and one punctuation mark, which means ‘start reading here’ or ‘stop reading here,’ is the same 64-word dictionary wherever you look in the living kingdoms (with one or two exceptions too minor to undermine the generalization).
We’ll come back to that last bit, which we emphasized, in a moment. But first, let’s look at the reason Dawkins gives for why the code must be universal:
Read the rest here.