Evolution reversed to rebuild old gene

This article on MSNBC.com talks about some interesting gene splicing that illustrates some of the value of evolutionary theory and also shows in a simple way how information could be added to DNA.

Genes are snippets of DNA that carry instructions for building a protein. The splitting of one gene into many genes has occurred many times throughout life’s history. With two identical genes, one can continue doing its normal job while the other is free to mutate. Most mutations are harmful and disappear, but every once in a while one proves beneficial to the organism and is passed on to future generations.

Just so. But try to tell the creationists just how all that works.

Early animals had 13 Hox genes until about 500 million years ago. Those 13 Hox genes multiplied four times, but some were lost because they were redundant. Today, humans and other mammals have 39 Hox genes.

Yep! Information can increase.

This article is also interesting in terms of gene therapy and the procedures being learned, of course. The ability to recreate even a portion of an older gene like this is fascinating. As noted in the article, it brings images of Jurassic park. I won’t start watching for approaching dinosaurs yet, but I’m amazed at how fast this research is moving!

Updated to add link to the article which I missed first time around, and also to add a link to PZ Myer’s much better commentary on the topic at Regulatory Evolution of the Hox1 Gene.

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