Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Less is More?

The first article that I chose to read discussed how gene loss can be a force of evolution. At first glance this seems totally backwards; how can losing genes help us evolve? That doesn't make any sense. However, the article does well at explaining how gene loss helps species adapt to new environments and how gene loss may have helped humans separate themselves from other primates.

The way the gene loss occurs is when the genome is removed from the sequence or when a genome no longer functions due to a mutation. Mutations and genomes reminds me of the lab we did in Bio looking at mutations of genetic sequences using strips of paper with genetic sequences on them.

I like that the article discusses how parasites lose dispensable genes because parasites are very different from primates. It shows that gene loss occurs across a wide range of organisms. It would be interesting to see if any species don't lose genes.

Until reading this article I didn't know that humans and chimps had 98% of the same genes. I knew it was high but I find it remarkable that less than 2% of a genetic difference has lead us on such different paths. It is interesting that what sets us apart may have more to do with the genes we lost than gained.

1 comment:

  1. I read this article too and it blew my mind the fact that gene loss can actually lead to a species being more advanced. It is werid to think that we could actually have less genes that chimps and thats how we are more advanced. Not to mention it is freaky how closely our genes are to chimps. I wonder where they have the differences... like there are clearly lots of differences between us and chimps but only 2 percent of our genes are different so they cant vary too much in too many places... it is sort of freaky.