Unusually Clever People

Plants R Us

Do not miss this superb New York Times science piece by Carl Zimmer about mounting evidence that very distant species can share similar groups of genes…including people and plants. Apparently, we've all kept some gene clusters from a long-ago common ancestor, though these groups of genes may perform different tasks depending on the organism in which they find themselves. For example, the same set of genes that allows mustard plants to sense gravity is essential in humans in preventing a strange disorder called Waardenburg syndrome.

Posted by on April 26, 2010 at 5:57 pm, in the category Unusually Clever People.
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4 responses to “Plants R Us”

  1. Bob says:

    Genes in common; courtesy of your friendly evolutionary process:)

    Zimmer is a very good science writer; his “Evolution: Triumph of an Idea” is an excellent read.

  2. Jenny says:

    My husband ans I were just discussing homology! Yes, you guessed it, I’m married to a biologist.

    We had a recent visitor to the local university who gave a talk on how new malaria treatments will use herbicides because malaria has plant-like features; it has genes similar to chloroplast genes. The herbicides are then modified into a medicine form and aren’t harmful to humans, but attack the malaria virus.

  3. Grace Zimmer says:

    Nice to see Carl on the gardening pages. I’m his biggest fan.

  4. Michele Owens says:

    I’m happy to learn that Carl Zimmer has a gardening wife. We love science writers here.

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