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Minnesota Gene Pool Blog

« Genetic test information positively influences cancer screening and prevention behavior | Main | Epigenetics Research Among Utah and Iceland Populations May Explain “Late-Onsetâ€? and Other Diseases »

Evolution Genetic Toolkit

The master genes that guide the basic body plan of all animals are inherited from a common ancestor that lived millions (billions?) of years ago.

Posted by Kristin Oehlke on June 24, 2008 1:59 AM |


Further to the experiment detailed in the film, I predict that if they took a fruit fly eye gene and put it into a mouse cell, the mouse would grow a complex eye and not a compound eye. That would finish “evolution by natural selection� for ever. Evolution is not a slow process of genetic mutation evolving new species; it is pre-existing genetic material being “switched on and off� to create new species and variants of species as and when required by the changing geology and climate of the Earth. All of the material required to create all of the species that have ever lived resides in each of the existing species. For example the dinosaurs are still with us today, they are locked within our genes and some day we will be able to unlock them and let them live again. I have no idea who put all that complex genetic material there, but I’m sure that it was not “God.�

Posted by: John Bedson | July 31, 2008 12:37 PM

Thanks, John, for this insightful comment. It is amazing that we do carry the genetic materials of our distant--at least in time--forebears in our genes. And you are correct--it is not just about the sequence we carry, but how and when it is expressed.

There are several good examples, however, of mutations that have had significant evolutionary impact on individuals and, eventually, populations. One example is the persistence of lactase activity in the majority of some populations. Also, the presence of hemoglobin variants in populations challenged by malaria. A third is the differences in skin pigmentation in populations that that are related to proximity to the equator.

Posted by: Kristin Oehlke | July 31, 2008 2:50 PM