jueves, 13 de mayo de 2010


People that have questioned Evolution as the method through which life has come to exist as we know it, have always pointed to the fact that there is only circumstantial evidence. They claim that though the bone structure in the human hand and a bat's wing are identical that does not necessarily mean that they developed from a common ancestor. This is something Charles Darwin introduced when he proposed the theory of Universal Common Ancestry (UCA) in his masterpiece, On the Origin of Species (1859). In short, this theory states that every living thing on Earth can be drawn back to the same common ancestor. Also, some evolutionary biologist have questioned this in a different way, saying they agree with the principles of evolution, but the idea that there may have been multiple independent ancestries and not one singular common ancestor.

With recent advances in technology, the ability to test UCA is finally becoming possible. Biochemist Douglas Theobald from the Brandeis University is one of the first to put this to the test by comparing species from completely different kingdoms. Due to their diversity in information storing, he decided to study, “Eukarya (organisms, including humans, yeast, and plants, whose cells have a DNA-containing nucleus) as well as Bacteria and Archaea (two distinct groups of unicellular microorganisms whose DNA floats around in the cell instead of in a nucleus).” Specifically in these organisms he studied and compared 23 universally essential proteins and their presence in each of organisms.

Here is a simple summary of his results:

“Harnessing powerful computational tools and applying Bayesian statistics, Theobald found that the evidence overwhelmingly supports UCA, regardless of horizontal gene transfer or multiple origins of life. Theobald said UCA is millions of times more probable than any theory of multiple independent ancestries.”

Though I did agree with his hypothesis in support of Darwin’s theory of Universal Common Ancestry, I don’t think this test fully proves it. It continues to present the theory as the most likely of all possible options conceived of at this point in time. I am hopeful though, with the great leaps science has made in the past 10 years, that soon we will be able to have testable assertions in favor of evolution and Universal Common Ancestry.

Full Article: http://www.physorg.com/news192882557.html

Darwin Rocks.

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