[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

NY Times Article on convergent evolution





NATALIE ANGIER wrote:

> When Evolution Creates the Same Design Again and Again


[snip]

The unorthodox antibodies of the sharks and camels may look and act
alike, but the genetic subunits that encode the proteins are decidely
dissimilar from one another -- that is, they have different amino acid
sequences.

Many combinations of amino acids can be strung together to construct
proteins that behave in nearly identical ways.

For statistical reasons, though, said Dr. Russell F. Doolittle, a
molecular evolutionist at the University of California at San Diego,
true sequence convergence -- where two independently evolved proteins
not only perform the same task but have the same underlying building
blocks -- is likely to be extremely rare.

[snip]
<

This is why I feel molecular based methods may be more reliable than
morphological ones;  unfortunately, since hox development control systems
seem to play such a central role, it may be that morphological changes may
be depend on changes in a very small number of positions in hox genes.  But
I suppose, so long as we stick to "non-crucial" bits of molecules, things
would work.


JJ