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Pseudogenes at Work

Pseudogenes are important in gene regulation and other activities.

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“Silent” Substitutions Make a Difference

Changing a DNA sequence can affect a protein even if it does not change the amino acid sequence.

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Surprising Molecules from Dinosaurs

Claims of dinosaur DNA stir controversy

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A Genomic Code for Chromosomal Structure

Chromosomes regulate their own structure through their sequences of non-protein-coding DNA.

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A Mechanism for Rapid Change in Species

Cichlid fish in Nicaraguan lakes show evidence of rapid change.

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Human Genetic Degeneration

An average of 70 mutations occur in each person.

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Different Colors on Different Soils

The specific genes have been identified that cause a lizard to match the black rocks it lives on.

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Transcription Factors and Body Morphology

Humans have unique “developmental control genes” that distinguish them from chimpanzees and other animals

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The Giant Flightless Birds Have Similar Changes in Regulatory Genes Leading to Flightlessness

Is the genetic basis of loss of flight due to mutations in protein-coding genes or in regulatory genes?

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Two Jellyfish Genomes Are as Different as Humans and Sea Urchins

Comparison of genomes of jellyfish and sea anemones highlights the importance of orphan genes in taxonomically close organisms.

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Questioning the Age of “Mitochondrial Eve?”

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.

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Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model to Understand the Role of Epigenetic Heritage in Microevolution

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…

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Is There Biological Evidence of Life's Recent Creation?

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…

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DNA and Design

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…

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Preservation of Dinosaur Soft Tissue: An Update

“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…

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Stability of Organic Molecules: Lessons from Vitamin C

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…

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Annotations from the Literature

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.

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Is There Design in Nature?

Can we detect design in nature? What kind of arguments have been used to make the design inference?

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Annotations from the Literature

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.

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Annotations from the Literature

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.

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