Corny Experiments

Biologist Stephen Matheson describes some cool evolutionary biology experiments:

Even better, though, would be to find an example of evolutionary change in which the new and old forms are still living, so that one could do the before-and-after comparison. It would look something like this: take a species, subject it to evolutionary influences of some kind until the descendants look significantly different from the ancestors, then compare the genomes (or developmental processes) of the descendant and the ancestor, in hopes of discovering the types of changes at the genetic or developmental level that gave rise to the differences in appearance or function of the organisms. That would be a cool experiment.

In fact, that kind of experiment has been done, more than once. The best example, in my opinion, involves an organism far less sexy than a dinosaur or a finch or a whale: Zea mays, better known as corn (or maize).

If that’s got you hungry for more, head on over to his blog and read the entire article.