No one could have predicted the profound impact of Charles Darwin’s five-year trip aboard the HMS Beagle, and how his discoveries would change the lens through which we view the world. Not even Mr. Darwin himself was yet aware. As he studied the specimens of the creatures he brought back from this expedition, one question after another would propel him forward in developing his theory of evolution. But in the beginning, he could not grasp the implications of what he had discovered, and how it would change our perception of the origin of life on Earth.
Mr. Darwin was not aware of DNA, homeotic genes, or HOX genes, as those things were unfathomable at that time. His theory would develop slowly, over many years, through close observation and unyielding questions.
Upon realizing that several specimen of birds he brought back from the Galapagos Islands were all related with slight variation, Mr. Darwin began to ask himself how so seemingly different birds, were actually related. What had brought about changes in the physical appearance? How were these selections of traits determined? Why were some traits favored over others? His initial answer was: descent with modification. This idea, descent with modification is the basis for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
Charles Robert Darwin was born into a family of freethinkers on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. As a young child, he showed a particular interest in the science of natural history. When the time came for him to go to University, his father wanted Darwin to become a doctor, and sent him off to study medicine at University of Edinburgh Medicine School, but Darwin was not interested, as the sight of blood made him squeamish. Wh...
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...hen the basic body forms of many animals. HOX genes control the development from head to tail. HOX genes may be thought of as switches that turn on or off a development process in an organism. Their ability to switch on or off gives them the capability to regulate the development of certain characteristics or the onset of illnesses. Darwin had observed that the offspring usually developed and changed, in a timeframe similar to that of the parent-being, but he was unaware of the driving force behind it.
It took many years of trial and tribulation for Darwin’s theory of evolution to become the accepted view. There were still many unanswered questions at the time of publication, but Darwin’s theory, gave other scientists a direction to follow, either to prove or disprove him. Over the last 157 years, more evidence has come to light to suggest that Darwin was correct.
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