Grumble grumble… media… evolution… junk DNA… grumble.

Busy, but need to vent a little about these stories.

1. New evolutionary research disproves living missing link theories

Evolution is not a steady march towards ever more sophisticated beings and therefore the search for the living “missing links” is pointless, according to findings published by a team of researchers led by Dr. Hervé Philippe of the Université de Montréal’s Department of Biochemistry.

And according to the most basic grasp of how evolution works.

2. Primates’ Unique Gene Regulation Mechanism: Little-Understood DNA Elements Serve Important Purpose

“Previously, no one knew what Alu elements and long noncoding RNAs did, whether they were junk or if they had any purpose. Now, we’ve shown that they actually have important roles in regulating protein production,” said Maquat, the J. Lowell Orbison Chair, professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and director of the Center for RNA Biology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

There’s been plenty of interest in possible roles for some Alu elements. There are more than 1,000,000 of them in the human genome. Seems like overkill, no?


4 comments to Grumble grumble… media… evolution… junk DNA… grumble.

  • What’s the issue with the Herve Phillipe article? I mean to someone who does evolutionary biology, molecular evolution in particular, its an obvious statement but the news article is hardly geared at a technical audience. I don’t really see anything wrong or misleading in that statement, or in the news article itself. I haven’t read the Nature paper yet though.

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    • I’m not criticizing the research.  But “evolution isn’t linear” is not a new finding.

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      • That’s certainly true, and I had a feeling that might be what you were going after, but I think given the target audience it was still a fair statement to make, at least if we are talking around issues of cellular/genomic complexity. I’ve met plenty of biologists and biochemists who still don’t really seem to grasp this, and even a few people with enough background in evolution that they should know better.

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      • Ah, reading you’re new post I really see the problem. I was sort of self-editing out the whole living missing link bit when I skimmed the article.

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