Bio Literary Task Essay

1664 words - 7 pages

Introduction
Research question – How has the study of DNA fingerprinting and modern genetics supported Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, thus making it the most widely accepted mechanism for evolution to date?
The aim of this scientific report is to provide evidence on how DNA fingerprinting and modern genetics have supported Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Aspects such as the use of DNA fingerprinting and the study of genetics will be discussed. All of this information will be in relation to the research question stated above.
DNA fingerprinting and modern genetics can be utilised to document the history evolution. By studying variation among species, scientists are able to ...view middle of the document...

However, scientists strongly believe that the study of genetics has provided ample evidence to support Darwin’s theory and this is the reason that Darwin’s theory is the most widely accepted and supported mechanism for evolution to date.

DNA Fingerprinting/DNA Profiling
DNA profiling is the process of using molecular biological techniques to classify, identify and study the evolution of organisms based on differences in DNA sequences. Scientists can learn a great deal from studying DNA in both plants and animals and therefore, can come to conclusions as to their origins. There are various ways in which scientists can study DNA. A process called PCR (polymerase chain reaction) can be used to replicate a small amount of DNA so that scientists can have a larger sample of DNA to analyse; and can then use this sample to study evolutionary change.
DNA analysis reveals the true origin of the chameleon
Until very recently, scientists have favoured the idea that chameleons evolved in Madagascar and then dispersed using ocean currents to Africa. DNA profiling has proven this theory to be incorrect. A process called Phylogenetic analysis was used by Dr Krystal Tolley – head of the Molecular Ecology Programme at the South African National Biodiversity Institute – to reconstruct the evolutionary relationship and history between groups of chameleons. This was possible as DNA accumulates mutations over time and species which have the same mutations share a common ancestor.
Dr Krystal Tolley carried out a Phylogenetic analysis between chameleon species and other reptile species known as Squamata. The research showed that chameleons dispersed from other lizards 90 million years ago. Chameleons then dispersed out of Africa using ocean currents in three separate periods:
• 65 million years ago - ground species of
chameleon from Africa dispersed to Madagascar

• 47 million years ago - arboreal species of
chameleon from Africa dispersed to Madagascar

• 34 million years ago - arboreal species of
chameleon from Africa dispersed to the Seychelles

Genetics
Genetics is the study of how physical and behavioural traits are inherited. Technological advances in genetics have proven to be extremely useful in many fields including anthropology, biology and medicine. Modern genetics has enabled scientists to confirm Darwin’s theory of natural selection and therefore, has confirmed that species diverge from a common ancestor. There have been many important discoveries in the field of genetics:
o 1850s – Gregor Mendel discovers how genetic information is passed down from generation to generation
o 1920s – Thomas Hunt Morgan discovers that genes are located on chromosomes
o 1950s – Scientists discover that DNA is a double helix
o 1960s – Restriction enzymes are discovered which can cut through DNA
o 1980s – Scientists discover that some DNA sequences are unique to individuals
How has genetics provided evidence for the theory of evolution?
Charles Darwin knew almost...

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