Wednesday, March 17, 2010
On page 66, Coyne says that "when a trait is no longer used, or becomes reduced, the genes that make it don't instantly disappear from the genome: evolution stops their action by inactivating them, not snipping them out of the DNA." If these genes are dead and have no purpose in an organism, what is an advantage of passing them on to the next generation? Besides consuming unnecessary energy in the DNA replication process, what other negative effects could passing on dead genes have? Also, how can dead genes help scientists trace down certain aspects of evolution?