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What We’re Talking About This Week: Evolution

Posted Nov 19 2009 10:02pm

Ooh, a veritable grab-bag of reading and coffee break discussion in today’s Science Times! Don’t miss fun graphics, videos and other things high school science teachers might want to substitute for today’s curriculum.

I’m happy to see evo-devo getting the spotlight: From a Few Genes, Life’s Myriad Shapes. Here’s a teaser:

Since its humble beginnings as a single cell, life has evolved into a spectacular array of shapes and sizes, from tiny fleas to towering Tyrannosaurus rex, from slow-soaring vultures to fast-swimming swordfish, and from modest ferns to alluring orchids. But just how such diversity of form could arise out of evolution’s mess of random genetic mutations — how a functional wing could sprout where none had grown before, or how flowers could blossom in what had been a flowerless world — has remained one of the most fascinating and intractable questions in evolutionary biology.

Now finally, after more than a century of puzzling, scientists are finding answers coming fast and furious and from a surprising quarter, the field known as evo-devo. Just coming into its own as a science, evo-devo is the combined study of evolution and development, the process by which a nubbin of a fertilized egg transforms into a full-fledged adult. And what these scientists are finding is that development, a process that has for more than half a century been largely ignored in the study of evolution, appears to have been one of the major forces shaping the history of life on earth.

Technorati Tags: evolution, evolutionary biology, evo-devo, new york times, science times, genes, development

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at 12:48 pm and is filed under What We're Talking About. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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