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Mobile Genetic Elements

Experimental Evolution: How Can We Watch Natural Genetic Engineering in Real Time?

James A. Shapiro | Posted 08.25.2012 | Science
James A. Shapiro

I have argued that natural genetic engineering is the real creative process in evolutionary innovation. A central but undocumented feature of my argument is that cells can coordinate separate DNA-change events to produce functional new genome structures.

Network Evolution: How Natural Genetic Engineering Builds Circuits in the Genome

James A. Shapiro | Posted 08.14.2012 | Science
James A. Shapiro

A major advance in our understanding of heredity and genetics is recognizing that organism characters are produced by networks and not by individual "gene products."

Can Cells Bias Natural Genetic Engineering Toward Useful Evolutionary Outcomes?

James A. Shapiro | Posted 08.06.2012 | Science
James A. Shapiro

A few blogs ago I asked, "Where, in fact, do 'the good ones' really come from?" By "good ones" I meant useful genome changes in evolution. This question stimulated some debate about whether it was possible to distinguish good changes from bad changes before they occur.

Barbara McClintock, Genome Self-Repair and Cell Cognition: A Revolutionary Vision for the Future of Biology

James A. Shapiro | Posted 05.09.2012 | Science
James A. Shapiro

In its early days, molecular biology promised to provide us with an explanation of life in terms of physics and chemistry. However, since the 1960s it has succeeded instead in amazing us with the richness and sophistication of intra- and inter-cellular control and communication networks.

More Evidence on the Real Nature of Evolutionary DNA Change

James A. Shapiro | Posted 03.07.2012 | Science
James A. Shapiro

Conventional wisdom has it that the genetic changes underlying evolution are random accidents. Now that we have almost 60 years of DNA-based molecular genetics and genome sequencing behind us, a different picture has emerged.