Sunday, September 25, 2005

Understanding Evolution IV -- Origin of Complex Biological Systems

If you still have doubts that complex biological systems (e.g., the human eye) can come into existence through evolution characterized by a serious of simple, random events, you might want to deepen your knowledge of molecular biology.

In the journal Nature, scientists from the Netherlands and Sweden show how uncovering the structure of a vital protein we use for defense against damaging biological invaders can reveal how that kind of evolution can occur at the molecular level. The details fascinate and edify.

The full article:

Janssen BJC, Huizinga EG, Raaijmakers HCA, Roos A, Daha MR, Nilsson-Ekdahl K, Nilsson B, Gros P.

Structures of complement component C3 provide insights into the function and evolution of immunity.

Nature 2005;437:505-11. (22 September 2005)
doi: 10.1038/nature04005

A “News and Views” report in the same issue summarizes the findings and implications:

Liddington R, Bankston L. Structural biology: Origins of chemical biodefence. Nature 2005;437:484-5.
doi: 10.1038/nature04005

Richard Dawkins explains how complex biological systems can arise through a series of simple random events over evolutionary time in his book:

Dawkins R. Climbing mount improbable. New York: Norton, 1996.

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