, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 89-90
Date: 20 Nov 2011

Evolutionary Lessons for 21st Century Molecular Biotechnologists

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What is in common between the dietary preferences of the bacteria E. coli and the differences between humans and mice at the DNA level? The answer is: a new conceptual basis for evolutionary research in the 21st century.

In the book, Evolution, a view from the 21st century, James A. Shapiro, Professor in the Biochemical Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago, makes a brave and bold attempt at piecing together a lot of recent evidence from molecular biology and genetic studies on DNA in order to try and see how well it fits with classical and Neo-Darwinian theories.

The words “brave and bold” were chosen on purpose. Even in this day and age, speaking about evolution has the almost instantaneous power to tag people with a huge “shoot me” sign on their T-shirt. The risk is to get caught in a veritable crossfire, coming from either side of the fences put up by people defined as Creationists or Darwinists (and all their various sub-divisions). Rather tha ...