Re: The evolution of "evolution"

From: Derek Gatherer (
Date: Tue 04 Oct 2005 - 09:47:54 GMT

  • Next message: Joel.M Dimech: "Re: The evolution of "evolution""


    At 23:41 02/10/2005, you wrote:
    >Gene theory, on the other hand, has virtually nothing to say about
    >ontogenesis. Researchers can only point out that a particular gene
    >corresponds to a particular trait and that this effect follows from the
    >presence of a particular protein. So, the gene that results in brown eyes
    >provides the template for the enzyme that catalyzes the relevant pigment.
    >That's it. No gene for how the eye is to be structured, what its parts are
    >or how they're assembed, just a template for a protein that influences its
    >appearance. No blueprint, no developmental program, nothing of consequence
    >to the emergence of bodies from eggs. Lacking any compelling reason as to
    >why we should reduce the organism to its genes, we have no reason to reduce
    >evolution to the transmission of genes.

    This is a late-1940s view of developmental genetics. Beginning in the early 50s with Ed Lewis's work on the genetics of body plan in Drosophila through to Jani Nusslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus's molecular isolation of those genes from the late 70s onwards, it has been possible to define the blueprint for how to make a fly from an egg. Lewis, Nusslein-Volhard and Wieschaus shared the Nobel Prize for this in 1994. Since the late 80s, Nusslein-Volhard has been repeating the successful paradigm for the development of the zebrafish. These genes do structure eyes, they do program development, they are of major consequence for the emergence of bodies from eggs. You can mess around with them and produce flies, fish or frogs with all kinds of tailor-made odd developmental programs.

    There are literally 100s of references I could give you. Try this one for a start on eye development:

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