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Scientists continue to test and probe evolution's processes, hunt for historic moments of change, and apply its rules as a predictive tool.
Genomics offers powerful tools to decipher the process of evolution, probe the origin of life, and refine Darwin's powerful theory. Includes: adaptation, natural selection, comparative genomics, the origin of life, and the history of the science of evolution.
Charles Darwin laid out the evidence for evolution in The Origin of the Species in 1859. Scientists have successfully applied its central concepts and elaborated on them ever since. They continue to test and probe evolution’s processes, hunt for historic moments of change, and apply its rules as a predictive tool.
Unlike some cartoon representations, evolution isn’t the story of fish crawling out of the sea and eventually progressing into humans. Rather, evolution describes the changes that take place over time from chance variations in our genomes. When these give a population an advantage for survival in a particular situation—such as drought, moist air, or harsh winters—then they are more likely to be passed down from one generation to the next. Mutations, sexual reproduction, and gene flow from one population to another all add to genetic variation.
The data pouring out of genetic research today is helping scientists construct the multi-branched tree of life as it has evolved and continues to adapt. Researchers can study the differences and similarities between the DNA of a species like a worm, a chimp, and a human. They can then discover the basic tools for life that all species share and the ways in which our paths diverged.
International Society for Microbial Ecology
The International Society for Microbial Ecology answers the question "What is microbial ecology?" on an education-friendly site that offers topics on ecology, evolution and phytoremediation; a feature on "the microbe of the month"; and links for further info on microbes and ecology.
Tree of Life
Use this searchable site to learn about different species, from archaea to mammals, and discover how they fit into the evolutionary tree of life.