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October 1, 1982

Mechanisms of Gene Evolution

JAMA. 1982;248(13):1582-1591. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330130030021

The Underlying Thread  The evolutionary continuity of all organisms, including man, is plainly read in the continuity of biochemical and molecular processes in all living things. The fundamental threads of organization and of structure are seen again and again. Fundamental processes in simple bacteria, yeasts, or algae are the same fundamental processes that occur in man. The genetic code is virtually unchanged from Escherichia coli to man. The DNA molecule that incorporates genetic information is the same molecule, based on the same biochemistry, in the simplest and in the most complex organisms. The differences that exist between the species are written in the sequences of nucleotides that encode their genes, but the language in which the sequences are written and the biochemical properties of their cells are very similar. The paths of evolution can be easily traced today in the DNA of living organisms.As a molecular geneticist, I view