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2008 National DNA Day Online Chatroom Transcript

This is just one question from an archive of the National DNA Day Moderated Chat held in April 2008. The NHGRI Director and many genomics experts from across NHGRI took questions from students, teachers and the general public on topics ranging from basic genomic research, to the genetic basis of disease, to ethical questions about genetic privacy.

I've read about evidence supporting hyperevolution in "lower organisms" (bacteria). How readily do you think larger,more complex organisms will be able to do this?
     Gary Temple, Ph.D.: Building a public collection of gene transcripts (as cDNAs) for use in studying the structure and function of human, mouse, and rat genes. Bacteria and other "lower" organisms have fewer genes and apparently much simpler systems for controlling gene regulation. In addition, because these organisms are either unicellular or have a much lower level of tissue diversity, compared to vertebrates, for example, their systems for gene control presumably need to be less diversified. The combined simpler genetic and tissue organization of the lower organisms could allow more flexibility and opportunity for evolutionary changes, compared with more complex organisms, which are therefore constrained to evolve much more gradually over time.
Rosa L. Parks High School in NJ (teacher)

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