Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer Fun With Skin Bumps

The article I found most interesting was the article that discussed the skin bump formation on reptiles and mammals.  What initially stood out to me was how the true solution to the posed conflict of shared gene ancestry versus evolved trait was much more simple than the other explanations that had been suggested previous to the discovery.  In science more often than not the solution to a question is much more complicated than wanted or expected.  I have seen that myself in experiments and science fair projects, and it is what can make science so frustrating or hard to understand.  This discovery is the opposite, as it is proves the simplest explanation was the true one.

Beyond this differentiation from the norm of science being generally confusing, I chose this article because genetics was my favorite part of bio class.  I saw that this article talked about not only genetics now, but how genes have evolved or not evolved over thousands and thousands of years, and was pretty darn interested.   While I was reading the article (and frantically wracking my brain trying to dredge up some bio smarts I could've sworn were in there somewhere) the only word that was coming to mind was "epigenetics," and after a quick google search I remembered that it was a change in the expression of a gene based on external factors, instead of a change in the gene itself.  This got me thinking that perhaps the reason that the skin bumps on reptiles don't form past embryonic phase was because the external environment didn't require it to.  I'm not entirely sure how accurate or possible that is, or if I am actually just thinking about evolution.  I don't think so though, as my interpretation of evolution is that it changes the genes, where in this case the gene and the protein it codes for are still the same in the species of mammals and the embryonic reptiles, despite how different their skin becomes after the early phase.  Either way, this article is mind blowing as it shows how far we have developed, something we know, but a tend not to really think about.

None of this is to say that the fact that both mammals and reptiles show the same gene makes all of our evolutionary questions magically answered.  Having the same gene and the same or similar expression of the gene does, however, show that at some point we must have been similar life forms, which is a truly wild idea to consider.  While this is so, it doesn't tell us what those forms were, or when we branched off to become our own separate species, which, luckily for us little fledgeling scientists, leaves a lot more science to do before that one gets figured out.

No comments:

Post a Comment