Posted on June 26, 2007  Comments (0)

Sean B. Carroll discusses the science of evolution and the field of evo-devo in this New York Times Video. Learn more in this extensive article – From a Few Genes, Life’s Myriad Shapes:

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.

For starters, evo-devo researchers are finding that the evolution of complex new forms, rather than requiring many new mutations or many new genes as had long been thought, can instead be accomplished by a much simpler process requiring no more than tweaks to already existing genes and developmental plans. Stranger still, researchers are finding that the genes that can be tweaked to create new shapes and body parts are surprisingly few. The same DNA sequences are turning out to be the spark inciting one evolutionary flowering after another. “Do these discoveries blow people’s minds? Yes,” said Dr. Sean B. Carroll, biologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

via: Justin Hunter (Justin and me in Madison) 🙂 Related: Opossum Genome Shows ‘Junk’ DNA is Not Junkscience webcast directoryLearning About the Human GenomeCurious Cat Science and Engineering Search

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