June 27, 2007

Every Time We Think We've Got It Figured Out...

You remember what you learned about RNA, right? They're basically molecular dump trucks, running back and forth and collecting the building blocks needed to create proteins in the human body.

That may be a more apt description than we thought, because suddenly scientists are discovering that the "dump trucks" may be just a small percentage of the entire RNA "fleet".

Time to rethink what we thought we knew about DNA and evolution.

What is being proposed is the inheritance of characteristics acquired during an individual's lifetime, rather than as the result of chance mutations. This was first suggested by Jean Baptiste Lamarck, before Charles Darwin's idea of natural selection swept the board. However, even Darwin did not reject the idea that Lamarckian inheritance had some part to play, and it did not disappear as a serious idea until 20th-century genetic experiments failed to find evidence for it.

They're seeing hints pointing to that evidence now. This isn't an alternative to evolution, it's the idea that our bodies tweak the DNA that we pass along according to experiences that occur during our lifetime.

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at June 27, 2007 11:45 AM | TrackBack
Category: Links SciTech

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