Daily Archives: 12/10/2011

LUCA and the thicket of life

Why is universal common descent so important, though? What does it actually do? It affirms Charles Darwin, of course, who famously wrote of life being “breathed into few forms or one”, but his theory didn’t actually demand it scientifically. He wrote against a prevailing assumption that natural species – if not artificially selected varieties – were unchanged since creation, but descent with modification needn’t imply a single ancestor, and the fossil record available to  him certainly didn’t support that.

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Epigenetics goes mainstream

I was woken from sleep by this  this morning. The EU are investing 30m Euros (if the currency doesn’t disintegrate beforehand) in a project to understand human epigenetics. Several references in the piece view this as the successor to the Human Genome Project, with the implication that the latter delivered, in medicine at least, a lot less than was promised, as the clip of Francis Collins demonstrates.

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