Evolution and Interconnection

As we speak on the topic of human evolution, a recent study has shown that nearly 20% of the Neanderthal DNA is matched in the human genome, including numerous skin genes that may have contributed to our adaptation to the ancient environment. Benjamin Vernot, a population geneticist at the University of Washington, speaks on the importance of technology in making such discoveries: “I think it’s really interesting how careful application of the correct statistical and computational tools can uncover important aspects of health, biology and human history.” This is applicable to both our topics in class and in lab – the very techniques we are utilizing in lab are very much alike to those that other genetic scientists are using! From studying molecular trends we can attribute those findings to larger forms of life, and how they are all interconnected. He also stated that in the future, scientists may be able to examine and determine hominid ancestors just by studying human DNA: “…the “fossil free” method of sequencing archaic genomes… holds promise in revealing aspects of the evolution of now-extinct archaic humans and their characteristic population genetics…scientists will be able to identify DNA from other extinct hominid, just by analyzing modern human genomes.” This is both very exciting for in shedding new light on human evolution, but also emphasizes that the research we are performing on bacteriophages can relate to the data analyzation that scientists are using in their own labs, and that it is indeed the future of science. Pretty cool!