Tuesday, September 29, 2009

If we're on the topic of interesting ledes

While reading all the different ledes on Discovery Magazine's website, the story "For Proteins, Evolution is a One Way Street" (though "Toothy Sea Monsters Need Sanctuary, Too" was a very close second), had a very interesting first paragraph that had me drawn to read the rest of the story. It reads:

"Organisms evolve to fit the world around them–but if the changes don’t work out, can a creature reverse the process? Say, for example, an insect originally eats a wide variety of tree leaves, but then evolves to live exclusively on the leaves from one type of tree that is abundant in its habitat; if that tree goes extinct, can the bug reverse course? A new study in Nature sheds some light on such questions, which have perplexed evolutionary biologists for many decades."

It wasn't so much that the lede was mind-blowingly compelling, it posed a question that tickled my curiosity and led me to find out if the process of evolution can be reversed. Well, the headline itself does not lie, they have proven due to constant mutations in evolution. They had performed tests by reversing 7 mutations in order to see if its "ancestral functions" would present themselves, but the case subject inevitably did not pull through with what they wanted.

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