Home > Genetics > Evolution of DNA

Evolution of DNA

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 20 Mar 2018 | comments*Discuss
Dna Evolve Evolution Evolutionary Theory

DNA has been an important discovery for many reasons, a key one being its relationship to evolutionary theory. Evolutionists have been particularly excited with DNA advances because the basis of DNA is such that it can be utilised to document the history of evolution. By comparing DNA sequences of genes from one organism to another, we can learn an enormous amount about their relationships. In fact, this learning goes far beyond what we can learn simply from morphology. At the same time, scientists are still aware that the DNA document of history, so to speak, is one that has gaps and is somewhat fragmented. This means that there must be awareness regarding the genetic changes that occur, otherwise we can become biased regarding how evolution occurred.

Using DNA to Study Variation Among Organisms

DNA has been used to study many aspects pertaining to the evolution of organisms. By investigating variation among species and the structure of different populations, scientists have learned a great deal about molecular evolution. Evolutionists look for specific patterns of DNA variation and then make logical inferences from the information. There is an enormous amount of variation within species, which does include humans. Your DNA will be different from another person's DNA. As such, two individuals cannot share the same DNA, although this does not hold true for identical twins. The result is that phenotype variation occurs. This type of variation refers to differences in the appearance and the behaviour of organisms within the same species.

Genetic Mutations and Recombination

Variation can arise though mutations, which happen when DNA copying is faulty and there is a difference between parent and offspring genes. While a mutation can be 'fixed' by DNA repair systems, some may have negligible effects. Others, however, can impact large pieces of DNA and lead to changes within a species. Recombination occurs when two parent genes are essentially mixed up to create an offspring, a common occurrence in asexual reproduction. Although the parents typically are members of the same species, occasionally genes can be moved between less related organisms. This is more likely to occur in organisms such as bacteria.

Evolution of the Genetic Code and Genetic Relatedness

DNA actually has numerous roles, the most well-known being its ability to code for proteins. This coding, however, is quite different from DNA's function in terms of our genetic code. Our genes include those that are expressed; they also have special sequences that dictate precisely when and where DNA is transcribed into another molecule called RNA for the creation of proteins. Our genetic code is the system that allows an RNA strand to be translated into a necessary sequence of amino acids.

Genomes for organisms hold a significant amount of evidence for evolution given that living species share the commonality of basic hereditary systems that use DNA or RNA to pass on genes from parent to offspring. By quantifying the similar aspects as well as the differences between and within species, scientists can assess the relationships between species. This tells us which species are closely or distantly related. This pattern then relays what is essentially Darwin's branched out tree for life.

Investigating Genetic Similarities

DNA supports genetic similarities and these similarities help researchers to understand effects from human genes through research on other species. For instance, there are genes governing DNA repair systems in bacteria, flies and rodents, which have been found to impact cancers in humans.

Evolution is certainly an area that generates debate although the scientific community at large is confident in the theory of evolution and it is mandated in the United Kingdom curriculum as well as most other places in the world. The discovery of DNA has supported evolutionary theory and our continued understanding of this molecule can help scientists to make predictions about the direction of evolution in the future.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
How do these amino acids form into a big new cell: Adanine, Guanine, Thymine, and Cytosine.
Mr. RainsAus - 13-Mar-18 @ 1:11 PM
What i find most amazing about DNA apart from the obvious implications it has on the evolutionary process and our ability to use it as a tool to trace our past as well as our relationship to other living organisms,is what drives it?The creationist can have a field day with this questions,think about it RNA which later becomes DNA,is the prerequisite for evolution and cellular reproduction. Amazingly it is a tightly regulated, self policing system with what seems to be a single goal ,which is to continue to exist as long as it can and to replicate itself as much as is possible.It almost sounds biblical.What dictates DNA activity is it a combination of laws of physics and chemistry or something more?Infact i personally think that DNA is the first sign of DNA after all is evolution not a function of DNA and evolution a function of adaptation, and adaptation a function of intelligence. The earths existence is a result of a series of coincidences that made its condition optimal for the sustenance of life,but the evolution of life is no coincidence. Anyone who has spent enough time with bacteria whic fortunately are single cellular organisms where evolution doesn't take eons as it does for multi cellular organism will concur. Evolution is a goal directed process to continue it's own existence, and the mechanisms used to attain this are nothing short of ingenious. If we continue studying DNA I have no doubt we're going to meet GOD.
Marvellous - 8-Aug-16 @ 5:29 PM
How did an inanimate object with no DNA evolve into a living single cell with DNA?
horolev - 22-Sep-12 @ 1:24 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Vanessa
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    I am currently almost 8 months pregnant with my boyfriend's child. In late February, he passed away. It was sudden. He was only 29 years old.…
    24 March 2018
  • ExploreDNA
    Re: Where Can I Get Genetic Testing?
    Daddy - Your Question:Can you determine DNA from a blood spot card? My father name is not on my birth certificate and all I…
    20 March 2018
  • Daddy
    Re: Where Can I Get Genetic Testing?
    Can you determine DNA from a blood spot card? My father name is not on my birth certificate and all I have is his autopsy…
    18 March 2018
  • NIk
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My question i would like to know if i can do DNA test on my husband ashes. i have doubts that i was not given my husband ashes?
    13 March 2018
  • Mr. RainsAus
    Re: Evolution of DNA
    How do these amino acids form into a big new cell: Adanine, Guanine, Thymine, and Cytosine.
    13 March 2018
  • ExploreDNA
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Joshua Bennett - Your Question:I never got to meet my father and only recently found out I have a brother and two sisters from him. Now my…
    5 March 2018
  • Joshua Bennett
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    I never got to meet my father and only recently found out I have a brother and two sisters from him. Now my siblings mom is saying that she…
    2 March 2018
  • ExploreDNA
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    EH - Your Question:My father passed away on 2002 and my cousin claim he is not my father. I have his glasses , wool hat and clothe that he…
    2 March 2018
  • Gupta
    Re: What is DNA?
    What type of message will be get found.
    2 March 2018
  • audra
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    i would like to know if my grandad farther who passed awayin 2014 is my real grandfarther as i was told he married my nan after she was…
    27 February 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ExploreDNA website. Please read our Disclaimer.