I'd like to point this out in particular to beginners, don't all the terms like gene, coding region, phenotype, RNA motif, etc. leave you puzzled when it comes to a basic understanding of genomic and evolutionary concepts? Worry not! After all, we are Homo sapiens and the basic understanding towards our own genome and evolution should not be too difficult to interpret and infer. The basic question that concerns every individual is how did life come into existence and how did the evolution made us what we are today. How did we get our present form, structure, body, functions and GENOME?
So the tale must begin. For the sake of curious minds, the question that should be answered first is how the life came into existence at our planet Earth. Also, many may wonder about the chicken and egg question i.e. whether the chicken came first or the egg. To be reasonable and specific, it was an egg that came first before the chicken. Before the existence of chickens, there were large reptiles both land-crawling and the ones with wings which thrived into the Earth's environment that are more commonly known as dinosaurs. It is stipulated that the egg must have come from these reptilian species and has acquired mutations in the constantly ever-changing environment of planet Earth (Remember Earth was a new planet!), which later gave birth to a new species.
Coming back to the question of life on earth, we must let our minds relax and imagine this scenario. The first form of life on Earth was Luca. Yes! Her name was Luca (We all have names, Don't we? So the lead of the story also deserves to have one). She lived probably near a pond or a lake and was a thermophile bacteria that means that she could survive high temperatures given that the when the Earth was newly formed, high temperature environmental conditions prevailed at that time. So, it had to be an organism with high temperature surveillance to thrive and develop on Earth.
The first life forms on Earth are believed to be single celled which tells that every organism owned one gene and it was the controller of that organism. The term selfish gene then comes into the concept. The genes were selfish, they used the host organism to acquire other genes from other hosts. At that time, burglary and theft of genes was in fashion. Further, several genes combined to form a multi cellular organism that contained more than one gene and was more complex and had more functions. Thereafter the process of recombination and acquisition of new genes continue to give rise to more and more complex forms of life on Earth. The more genes an organism had, the more complex it was considered to be.
The second question in the continuing series of unleashing of the story of evolution of life is How did we came to the state that we are in today? What brought the existence of Homo sapiens? To begin with, the Homo sapiens evolved from the 'Apes'. Apes are mammalian organisms and they had their two clades viz. Gorillas and Chimpanzees formed back when the evolution occurred. These two clades happened to separate; the event took place when the gorillas chose to move to what we call American continents today probably due to the formation of Nile River. The chimpanzees stayed where they were and later due to significant series of events, they separated into two clades: one stayed chimpanzees while the other one got evolved into during the course of time. While not going into scientific terms, the major evolved forms during the process of final evolution into Homo sapiens (not in order) are Homo erectus, H. Neanderthals, Homo hibilis and finally what we are today, HOMO SAPIENS!
Thus from the question of the origin of life on earth, across the chicken-egg existence paradigm and gene-theft, we are on the page where we see todays' US, the HOMO SAPIENS. Homo sapiens, the most complex organisms on earth which share their 97% genes with their ancestors, chimpanzees. It is far too convenient to refer them belonging from the Apes. The humans have evolved from apes over the time and space and are continuously thriving in the present environmental conditions of Earth. Thence, the study of Evolution and genetics can be fun if one lets the mind to relax and explore and dive into their own pool of imagination thereby creating a scenario that perfectly fits into the knowledge we have today.
About Author / Additional Info:
A Budding Biotechnologist from India. Visit http://in.linkedin.com/pub/shivani-sharma/4b/91b/384 for more details or refer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researcher ID- J-4200-2012