Dienstag, 17. April 2007

Positive selection in chimps and humans

I have made a longer post on my german blog. (Studium generale) For more information look here. (Gene Expression) Nature, Science, New Scientists have articles now. But the best commentary, I have read until now comes from an australian physics departement exploring complex and nonlinear systems (!) (Nature, Comments):

It's a big jump from observing the number of genes which have a high proportion of non-synonymous mutations, to taking this to be a measure of how much the species has changed, how 'highly evolved' they are, or who is winning the evolutionary race - to use three phrases from the article in question. As many writers have beautifully and eloquently described (eg Gary Marcus' wonderful book The Birth of the Mind - How a Tiny Number of Genes Creates the Complexities of Human Thought) there are generally no simple correspondences between genes and phenotype properties. The genotype-phenotype map is complex, highly-structured and poorly understood. A more perceptive and thoughtful discussion of the possible interpretations of the reported data would be more welcome than the cheap pseudo-controversial headlines.
Also interesting: what is the possible impact of cultural evolution as a selective force?

Anne-Marie Grisogono

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