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question about evolution theory

L.A. Moran lamoran at gpu.utcc.utoronto.ca
Sat Apr 16 20:11:52 EST 1994


In article <sticknbd-160494113419 at 160.129.125.9>,
Henry <sticknbd at ctrvax.vanderbilt.edu> wrote:
>I am a molecular biologist, but not one who
>studies molecular evolution, so I ask the following
>question of the folks here.  In reading a review, I 
>came across the following statement:  "The issue of 
>the evolution of the [mammalian] metalloproteinase
>family can eventually be resolved by characterizing 
>the MMPs in more primitive species."  I do not doubt
>that we can learn valuable lessons from such analysis.
>However, because of the lack of linear evolution from 
>"more primitive" extant species to so-called "higher
>species," I am not convinced that the issue of evolution
>(per se) of a gene family can be resolved in this manner.
>That is, these genes have been evolving for millions of 
>years in all species; therefore, we cannot conclude that
>gene A in humans derived from gene B in, say, fish.  That
>they evolved from a common ancestor may be probable,
>but the linear relation implied by the quote above
>disturbs my sensibilities.  Can somebody with a better
>evolution background either confirm or deny my suspicions 
>that the quote is more than a little specious?
>sticknbd at miranda.cc.vanderbilt.edu

Your suspicions are probably correct. I suspect that anyone who uses the
term "primitive" to describe an extant species has not thought about
evolution very much. 

Laurence A. Moran (Larry)





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