Molecular biology of adaptations

Dobzhansky (1964) “…the only worthwhile biology is molecular biology. All else is “bird watching” or “butterfly collecting.” Bird watching and butterfly collecting are occupations manifestly unworthy of serious scientists!”

Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology “But we can now see the Modern Synthesis as too restrictive and that it dominated biological science for far too long. Perhaps the elegant mathematics and the extraordinary reputation of the scientists involved blinded us to what now seems obvious: the organism should never have been relegated to the role of mere carrier of its genes.”

2013 Nobel Week Nobel Lectures in Physiology or Medicine (starting at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time/New York on Saturday Dec. 7, 2013)

Information about James Rothman’s Nobel Lecture The Principle of Membrane Fusion in the Cell

Rothman Lab: “Membrane fusion is a fundamental biological process for organelle formation, nutrient uptake, and the secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters.

Information about Randy W. Schekman’s Nobel Lecture Genetic and biochemical dissection of the secretory pathway

Schekman Lab “Basic principles that emerged from our past and on-going studies in yeast are now being applied to studies of genetic diseases of protein transport.

Information about Thomas C. Südhof’s Nobel Lecture A Molecular Machine for Neurotransmitter Release

Südhof Lab “Südhof is interested in understanding how synapses are formed.” “Second, the Südhof laboratory would like to understand how information transfer is triggered at a synapse rapidly and precisely.


If you learnt evolutionary biology and genetics a decade or more ago you need to be aware that those debates have moved on very considerably, as has the experimental and field work on which they are based. –Denis Noble

Clearly, there are Biophysical constraints on randomly expressed genes and those constraints continue to be addressed by Nobel Laureates year after year. It is time that those who Dobzhansky inferred were no more than bird watchers and butterfly collectors to learn what is currently known about the molecular biology of adaptions and incorporate it into what they tell others about changes that are obviously nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in all species.

Author: James Kohl

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