Welcome to the Genomics Forum blog

Based at The University of Edinburgh, the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum is part of the ESRC Genomics Network and pioneers new ways to promote and communicate social research on the contemporary life sciences.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Genes Forever

I’ll try to paraphrase some more of the cool stuff I’ve been reading…

Sean Carroll talks mostly in “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” about ten or so “Hox” genes…which biologists have been rather flabbergasted to discover are shared by ALL animals…everything…from flatworms to Simon Cowell.

What all these animals sharing the same essential body building tool kit means…from an evolutionary point of view…is that the common ancestor of all these bodies…phenotypes…already HAD many of the essential ingredients all animal life would ever need…genotypes…long before they were actually needed.

(It is also decisive proof, if more were needed in this day and age, that they all HAD a common ancestor…so yah boo to the Creationists)

That is, before the Cambrian Explosion 550 million years ago, when complex animal forms suddenly appear in the fossil record…many of the essential genes that make the amino acids that make the proteins that make the eyes and scales and legs and teeth and kidneys were already kicking about in the biomass - which till then consisted almost exclusively of the kind of blue green slime you clean off an old toilet…

(By the way, life on earth is still overwhelmingly bacteria…as it was exclusively in the beginning…and shall be exclusively again for almost all of the hereafter…till the sun blows up anyway)

Well WHY for goodness sake? Why have all the genetic material you need for building bodies, when there aren’t any bodies to build yet???

There is no “why”…is the answer that whispers on the pre-historic wind…that you can’t hear because there aren’t any trees for it to whisper through…

Just cos…

All of which I think goes to show that if the universe really was put together by a watchmaker, he wasn’t just blind…as Richard Dawkins would have it…but blind drunk.

No comments:

Post a Comment