The Epic History of Biology

By Anthony Serafini | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 24
Evolution and Genetic Engineering

Inevitably, the brisk progress in both genetic engineering and evolutionary research would intersect. The American biologists Charles, Sibley and Jon Ahlquist of Yale in 1984 applied DNA experimental techniques to reveal that the relationship between humans and chimpanzees was much closer than the relationships between chimpanzees or humans to other great apes. They also devised an evolutionary tree for birds in their 1986 "Scientific American" article, "Recasting bird phylogeny by comparing DNA's." In a similar way, they also applied DNA techniques to show that previous descriptions of how and from what species songbirds and other birds had evolved was not accurate. The year 1983 also saw much genetic research. The American biologist Walther Gehring and his collaborators found the so-called homeobox -- a particular sequence that coordinates the general development of certain structures in mammals and segmented worms. Also in 1983, the American biologist Barbara McClintock captured the Nobel prize for her

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