Genetics: Understanding the origins of our biological traits

Virginie Courtier-Orgogozo, Directeur de Recherche at CNRS details a fascinating aspect of genetics that concerns understanding the origins of our biological traits

When it comes to genetics that concerns understanding the origins of our biological traits, Virginie Courtier-Orgogozo at CNRS has some interesting observations to make. This includes the fascinating fact that millions of species inhabit the planet. We learn that each species is characterised by a series of biological traits that enable organisms to live successfully in their ecological niches.

Added to this, determining how these biological traits have evolved is fundamental to understanding biodiversity and the specificity of each species, the author notes. We learn that Dr Courtier-Orgogozo and her team at CNRS, with the Institut Jacques Monod in Paris, use fruit flies as a model species and employ a cutting-edge multi-level approach to decipher the fine mechanisms of evolution.

One interesting point outlined here is that to understand what makes us what we are, it is important to explore the origins of our traits. We find out that observable differences between species are due to mutations that accumulated in the DNA over multiple generations. For example, the author argues that several millions of mutations occurred in our genome since our divergence from the chimpanzee lineage.

The author concludes that evolutionary studies, such as the ones taking place at CNRS are important to further our understanding of the role of contingency in life evolution, for both the past and future. For more information, please contact the author Virginie Courtier-Orgogozo on +33 1 57 27 80 43 or at virginie.courtier@ijm.fr

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