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Cytochrome C

 Cytochrome-c is a protein and is a gene product. It functions as a key enzyme in oxidation reactions and seems to occur in practically every living organism. There are 20 different amino acids. Cytochrome-c consists of a chain of 112 amino acids, 19 of which occur in exactly the same sequential order positions in all organisms tested. Differences in the identity and positions of the remaining 93 amino acids are considered to be the result of mutational substitution during the course of evolution. The amino-acid constitution of human cytochrome-c differs from that of many but not all other species. There are no differences in the cytochrome-c taken from humans and from chimpanzees, and only one difference between human cytochrome-c (the amino acid isoleucine in position 66) and that from the Rhesus monkey (threonine in that position). The numbers of differences in the cytochrome-c of various species compared with that of humans are: cow, pig and sheep (10), horse (12), hen and turkey (13), rattlesnake (14), dogfish (23), fly (25), wheat (35), yeast (44), etc.1 Information of this nature is used to construct phylogenetic trees of assumed genetic relationship. This is presented as evidence for evolution on a molecular level and, among other things, it is concluded that man and the chimpanzee have a relatively recent common ancestor. Assuming for the sake of argument that this is correct, does the constitution of cytochrome-c provide valid evidence for evolution?


The fact that cytochrome-c has a fixed number of 112 amino acids is an indication of the importance of the three-dimensional structure of the molecule, i.e., there is a structural constraint on the total number of amino acids. On the other hand, only 19 of the 112 are identical in all organisms tested. Since the identity and positions of the remaining 93 amino acids differ among organisms except, for example, in the case of man and chimpanzee, it is reasonable to conclude that there are no functional constraints on the substitution of these remaining amino acids.

Apart from the single gene controlling the constitution of cytochrome-c, humans and chimpanzees differ in many thousands of other genes. As a conservative estimate, let us say 5,000. What the theory of evolution is saying is that while humans and chimpanzees have evolved independently from a common ancestor so as to now differ in these 5,000 genes, there has been no change in the 93 amino acids specified by the cytochrome-c gene, and this in spite of there being no functional constraint on change in any of the latter. I find this to be an unacceptable claim.

According to Weaver and Hedrick,2 however, the lack of differentiation in the constitution of cytochrome-c between humans and chimpanzees is due to the very slow (0.3 x 10–9) estimated rate of amino acid substitution in cytochrome-c. How is this rate determined? It is estimated on the basis of the assumed time since the species diverged, i.e., the claim is assumed proven on the assumption that it is true. Must I accept this kind of reasoning? Is there any reason why God should not have created them in virtually the same form as we see them now?


“‘If you look at Cytochrome C for instance, an enzyme vital to all life forms, it has 38 amino acids in its sequence which are invariant, so those 38 amino acids must be essential for its function. Therefore, Cytochrome C cannot have arisen step-by-step.”  Vij Sodera,  author of the book, One Small Speck to Man.


From :

It happens that the cytochrome C in humans is slightly different from the cytochrome C in bacteria, but it still functions the same way. As a matter of fact, there are slight differences in the amino acid sequences of cytochrome C in most living creatures.

If the existence of cytochrome C in “higher forms” of animals is the result of evolution from a common ancestor, then one would expect to see a logical progression. That is, the cytochrome C of an invertebrate (like a worm) would be slightly different from a bacteria. A “primitive” vertebrate (like a fish) would have those same differences, plus a few more. As you progress along the presumed evolutionary path to amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, ending with humans, you should see the changes in cytochrome C accumulate.

On the other hand, if cytochrome C is a commonly used component employed by a designer, you will not see that logical progression. You will just see minor differences which optimize cytochrome C for that kind of creature.

Designers generally put tires made of rubber, with slightly different tread designs, on automobiles. Drag racers have slick treads, with no bumps or grooves. Off-road vehicles have treads with deep grooves and/or bumps. Passenger cars have a variety of tread patterns which are designed for use on pavement which may have some rain, snow, or dirt on it. If you tried to trace evolutionary progress from drag slicks to off-road knobby tires you would not be able to do it because tires did not evolve through random mutations and survival of the fittest.

There is a way to distinguish evolution from design at the molecular level. Molecular biologist Michael Denton examined the molecular evidence in detail. He said,


… the new molecular approach to biological relationships could potentially have provided very strong, if not irrefutable, evidence supporting evolutionary claims. Armed with this new technique, all that was necessary was to examine the proteins in the species concerned and show that the sequences could be arranged in an evolutionary series. … The prospect of finding sequences in nature by this technique was, therefore, of great potential interest. Where the fossils had failed and morphological considerations were at best only ambiguous, perhaps this new field of comparative biochemistry might at last provide objective evidence of sequence and of the connecting links which had been so long sought by evolutionary biologists.

However, as more protein sequences began to accumulate during the 1960s, it became increasingly apparent that the molecules were not going to provide any evidence of sequential arrangements in nature, but were rather going to reaffirm the traditional view that the system of nature conforms fundamentally to a highly ordered hierarchic scheme from which all direct evidence for evolution is emphatically absent1 [emphasis supplied]


Dr. Denton then produced several tables and diagrams that show this. He showed, for example, that the cytochrome C in bacteria is 64% different from horses and pigeons, 65% different from tuna and silkmoths, 66% different from wheat, and 69% different from yeast. 2 He left it to the reader to realize that, according to evolutionary theory, one would expect the cytochrome C of a bacterium to be closer to the cytochrome C of a tuna (fish) than a horse (mammal). Furthermore, the horse should have the same mutations as the tuna, plus a few more. This is not what the molecular data shows.

Dr. Denton was more interested in showing the distinct molecular gaps between kinds of creatures than he was in showing the lack of logical progression. Using our example of the tire treads, if you look at off-road tires from a variety of manufacturers, you will find that they are all similar, but with minor differences. Similarly, if you look at the treads on passenger tires they are similar, with minor differences. It is unlikely that you will wonder if a tire belongs on a sports car or a 4×4, regardless of the manufacturer. One need not be an automotive expert to recognize the difference.

Dr. Denton’s Figure 12.1, “The Cytochromes Percent Sequence Difference Matrix” 3, is an abridged version of the 1972 Dayhoff Atlas of Protein Structure and Function Matrix of nearly 1089 entries showing the percent difference between 33 species. Denton’s abridged matrix shows that molecular biologists can easily recognize which cytochrome C sample came from a fish and which came from a mammal.


However, the most striking feature of the matrix is that every identifiable subclass is isolated and distinct. Every sequence can be unambiguously assigned to a particular subclass. No sequence or group of sequences can be designated as intermediate with respect to other groups. All the sequences of each subclass are equally isolated from the members of another group. Transitional or intermediate classes are completely absent from the matrix. 4


If evolution were true, and creatures gradually evolved from one to another, there should be intermediate forms. Intermediate forms should be found in living creatures, in the fossil record, and in proteins. It should, in at least some cases, be hard to classify things because the boundaries are blurred.

The colors of a rainbow change gradually from red to orange, to yellow, and so on to violet. Where does the red end and the orange begin? Where does the green end and the blue begin? It is hard to tell because the change is so gradual. There are no distinct boundaries in the visible spectrum of light. Some colors are clearly blue, and some are clearly green, but there is a “gray area” where people might argue if a color is really green or blue.

If fish evolved into amphibians, there must have been some creatures that were intermediate between fish and amphibians. If we found those intermediate creatures alive today, biologists would have trouble deciding if they are fish or amphibians. If we found fossils of them, paleontologists would argue whether those fossils should be classified as fish or amphibians. If we took Cytochrome C from them, it would be difficult to tell if that protein came from a fish or an amphibian. But it isn’t.

It is easy to tell living fish from living amphibians. It is easy to tell fossil fish from fossil amphibians. It is easy to tell Cytochrome C from fish from Cytochrome C from amphibians.

If evolution were true, one would expect the cytochrome C to blend as smoothly as a rainbow from one biological classification (phylum, family, order, or class) to another. But, it doesn’t. You don’t even find the equivalent of “a minivan with the soul of a sports car” in the molecular data. It appears that all species designed for a certain environment were given similar tires.

If an analysis of cytochrome C showed an evolutionary pathway from bacteria to man, you can be sure it would be widely published. Such a report has not been published because the molecular evidence is against evolution. It favors a designer.


The claim:

“[Cytochrome-C] is very unique because it paints an obvious picture of common decent. By examining the differences in the genetic code we can examine how different the species are.”
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This is a classic case of snake oil, a con where they show you only the data they want you to see. Ironically the snake is the one mosaic you will see in the data below, so it shouldn’t be hard to figure out which row is the snake..

Below is a bigger picture of the Cyto-C data that the evos who tout this “evidence” don’t want you to see.



This clearly shows that Cyto-C is not good evidence for common decent of all life. Even the relationships (E) that matched the evo dogma are not evidence. Why? Imagine if a creationist used the same chart to determine which animals fall into a specific kind (baramin). We would have been correct with 4 of the 5 Es being the same kind! We also would have made the same mistake with all 4 Ns! We would have been correct to assume the “-” were all separate kinds, but at this point that’s neither here nor there. What this proves is neither side can use Cyto-C as evidence to support their version of “common decent”. It also proves that evolutionists touting Cyto-C as evidence for evolution are either wittingly or unwhittingly selling snake oil to their listeners.

One last observation. The mosaic in the chart (#23) was the snake, which differed from mammals as equally as it did to birds. According to evolution we would expect the snake to be closer to birds since evos think birds and reptiles share a more recent common ancestor than birds do with and mammals.


2 responses to “Cytochrome C

  1. Jonathan Bright April 13, 2018 at 12:27

    Hello! Cytochrome C does a decent job during oxidative phosphorylation, which is fairly similar in all species alive today. There is no reason why mutations in Cytochrome C would necessarily follow a specific pattern as you examine organisms that are increasingly “more evolved”, by which I mean the progression from fish, to horses to humans for instance. Instead, random and harmless mutations have simply accumulated over time and persist in a species’ gene pool as they face no incentive to change.

    I am happy to engage in a meaningful discussion on points such as this and have no inherent bias towards either an evolutionary or intelligent-designer theory. I am keen to understand more about religion’s response to the results from modern molecular genomics.

  2. Sir Andrew December 2, 2016 at 02:33

    “That is, the cytochrome C of an invertebrate (like a worm) would be slightly different from a bacteria.”

    And it is. The cytochrome c of humans is slightly different from that of horses.
    And you wouldn’t expect large differences, either. It seems like a very useful and effective protein, and nature never aims for perfection; it aims for good enough, which cytochrome c certainly is. So the protein would largely have been ignored by natural selection, because there was never really a selective pressure to necessitate changes in the protein.

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