Monday, May 2, 2011
Science Mondays: Z is for Zoogenesis, second definition
Back in the day when I studied Biology I was drawn away from the molecular to the ecological. I wanted to be pondering a wetland not looking at chemical reactions. I wanted to understand the relationship between a plant and an insect, not the human genome.
I wanted to understand evolution by studying how the environment created new species, not how molecules were involved.
Zoogenesis does mean how the first animal came into existence, but it can be applied to the first vertebrate, or bird, or warbler, or how the first Northern Waterthrush emerged.
photo by Orchidgalore
Zoogenesis is full of grays, it is not black and white. Life unfolded.
Two years ago I went in search of a book to help me teach evolution and found a great one at the Doylestown Bookshop: The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean B Carroll. And suddenly I was drawn into what I avoided as an undergrad. If you want to understand zoogenesis, it is a great place to start.
for example: Understanding mutations (you and I have many that came from the creation of the sperm and egg that formed us) became as simple as understanding my keyboard mistakes--- deletions, repetitions, copy and paste, additions. All the ways we can mess up the code of English, our bodies can do with our DNA.
I still find it a bit of a mystery, but less so than before I read the book. Here is a photo I took while taking notes in Doylestown's library (a great place to learn about many things including jazz-- they have an amazing CD collection)...