Pseudogenes at Work
Pseudogenes are important in gene regulation and other activities.
Changing a DNA sequence can affect a protein even if it does not change the amino acid sequence.
Chromosomes regulate their own structure through their sequences of non-protein-coding DNA.
Cichlid fish in Nicaraguan lakes show evidence of rapid change.
The specific genes have been identified that cause a lizard to match the black rocks it lives on.
Humans have unique “developmental control genes” that distinguish them from chimpanzees and other animals
Is the genetic basis of loss of flight due to mutations in protein-coding genes or in regulatory genes?
Comparison of genomes of jellyfish and sea anemones highlights the importance of orphan genes in taxonomically close organisms.
Confirmation that fathers may sometimes pass mitochondrial DNA to their children violates the assumptions used to calculate the age of the most recent female common ancestor of all living humans. Published in Origins v. 21, n. 2.
In recent decades, epigenetics has been shown to be a promising field of research, since it describes changes in inheritance patterns that do not involve DNA modifications and are related to interactions between the organism and the environment. Epigenetic marks are chemical changes that occur in chromosomes and result in the silencing or activation of specific genes in different tissues. It has been…
During one of my frequent visits to the office of my high school headmaster, his individual tutelage yielded a life lesson that I’ve never forgotten. His exact words were, “You think you’re right!” Of course I thought I was right, wouldn’t anyone who thought they were wrong change their mind and then immediately think they are right? Now that I’m an adult biologist, I still think that I’m right. Inevitably…
Imagine walking down the beach and coming across the words “Romeo loves Juliet” written in the sand. Most of us have experienced something like this and would not be surprised, but most people would be surprised to find the entire text of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet written in sand. Why is this? The obvious reason is that sand is the wrong material for large writing projects. Sand grains…
“You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This verse from Genesis 3 captures very well the fate of beautifully designed organisms after the entrance of sin into the world. But how long does it take for the organic molecules we are made of to break down after death? In general, the longer the time from death, the larger the amount of decay that should be observed. This is particularly true for soft…
The stability of organic (carbon-based) molecules is an interesting and challenging topic as there are many different types of functional groups, molecular configurations, and molecular collisions to consider. Research on the stability of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and other vitamins demonstrates which factors to consider when it comes to the preservation of carbon-based molecules. Ascorbic acid…
A collection of short commentaries on scientific papers published in 2015, covering topics such as phylogeny of moths, beak variations in species of Galapagos finches and scrub jays, functional synthetic chromosomes, horizontal gene transfer, Jurassic fossil snakes, stasis, trace fossils of swimming tetrapods, and habitat diversity in the fossil record. Published in Origins, n. 64.
Can we detect design in nature? What kind of arguments have been used to make the design inference?
A collection of short commentaries on scientific papers published in 2008, covering topics such as human skeletons on Palau, the bacterial flagellum, antiobiotic resistance, abrupt appearance of fossil bats, Cretaceous feathers, dinosaur respiration. Published in Origins, n. 62.
A collection of short commentaries on scientific papers published in 2007, covering topics such as oceanic productivity, pseudogenes, sedimentary gaps, fossil birds, fossil bivalves, dinosaurs, stasis in lampreys and microbes, and hybrid sterility in fruit flies. Published in Origins n. 60.