Q: On page 397:11, The Urantia Book states that there are 48 units of pattern control in the sex cells of human reproduction. I believe this refers to chromosomes… if not, what could it mean? Our science counts 46 chromosomes. Prior to this discovery, it was thought there were 48, but that was in chimps.

A: Yes, The Urantia Book does state that there are 48 units of pattern control. The general assumption always tends to be that this is a reference to chromosomes and since it’s incorrect then those looking for disputable facts will simply say, “see, The Urantia Book doesn’t know what it’s talking about.” If the revelators had meant chromosomes they would have used that word since they did use it in one other place.

“On Urantia there are forty-eight units of pattern control–trait determiners–in the sex cells of human reproduction.”(36:2.11)

This statement about “forty-eight units of pattern control”–forty-eight units of trait determiners (genes)–is in the context of the “design” of Urantia will creatures. The Life Carriers designed us with twenty-four chromosomes, twenty-two autosomes and two sex chromosomes. In the process of protein synthesis, the single-stranded messenger RNA (mRNA) is the “pattern”. Each strand of the double-stranded DNA is a unit of “pattern control”. The integrity of the pattern in each strand is controlled, because the DNA strands are a complementary pair. Therefore, each DNA strand serves as a control for the transcription of RNA patterns; and twenty-four chromosomes implies forty-eight units of pattern control, two for each chromosome.

The revelators point to “the sex cells of human reproduction”, rather than to somatic cells, in an attempt to keep us from misinterpreting the statement. At the time of the revelation, scientists mistakenly thought that there were forty-eight chromosomes in a somatic cell; and even with the correct number of chromosomes (forty-six), the revelators are trying to help us avoid the confusion of the homologous pairs of autosomes in a somatic cell. A germ cell has twenty-three chromosomes, and “the sex cells” collectively are the two different implementation subsets of the full design set of twenty-four chromosomes.

I hope that this reply is satisfactory in helping with your understanding of this sometimes-controversial portion of The Urantia Book. Thanks for writing!

Date published:
Author: Staff