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Timing is Everything

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:06 am    Post subject: Timing is Everything Reply with quote

This is fascinating news from followers of Evo-Devo (Evolutionary Developmental) Biology. As far the "hoop shot" here, what we might say is that there is less structural evolution than we think -- with creatures sharing a lot of the basic templates...however, the size and shape of those templates can vary a lot..kind of like a hardware store where there are screws in some basic formats, but you can get them in all sizes and you can put them together to be a house, a car, or a boat.


http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/813/1

Quote:
If humans and chimps are 99% alike genetically, how come we're so different? Scientists have been trying to answer that question for more than 30 years. Now researchers have come up with fresh evidence that the answer lies not in the proteins that genes produce but in the timing and level of gene activity.

In 1975, the late evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson of the University of California, Berkeley, and his then-grad student, Mary-Claire King, published a paper in Science relating that comparison of various proteins and nucleic acids between chimps and humans revealed hardly any differences between the two species. So they proposed that the obvious differences might result from the way genes are regulated. Some support for the assertion has since come from studies of individual genes, such as prodynorphin, an endorphin precursor that is expressed more in humans than other primates (ScienceNOW, 17 November 2005).

...

Of the genes whose promoter regions were most affected by selection in humans, many are involved in neural development, including such things as how the axons of nerve cells are directed to form connections with other nerve cells. Haygood says that's not surprising, given the vast differences in behavior and cognitive ability between chimps and humans. More exciting, in his opinion, is that perhaps more than 100 genes relate to carbohydrate metabolism, particularly glucose metabolism. Haygood says it's possible that shifting from the fruit-based chimp diet to one rich in carbs, in the form of roots and tubers, could have provided humans with the energy needed for brain expansion. The team reported its findings online 12 August in Nature Genetics.
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