Tree of Life – DNA

music
ambience: Dawn, Pantanal wetlands

DNA is a molecule found in all life forms. Encoded in DNA is information that shows, among other things, the common characteristics shared by any single species. By studying the differences in the DNA of different species, scientists are adding to our knowledge of the Tree of Life — a representation of the way that all forms of life are related. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“The genome basically refers to all of the DNA that we have in all of the cells of our bodies. And it turns out all organisms on earth have a genome and have plenty of DNA sequences in them.”

Michael Donoghue is a Professor of Biology at Yale University.

“In recent years we’ve been able to take advantage of all of this information that resides in the genome – all of these DNA sequences – because we’ve got the technology now to go in and fish out individual genes out of any organism, and compare them one to another. And those are packed full of information about the issue of common ancestry — which things share more recent common ancestors. So we can take a DNA sequence out of a human, and we can take the same chunk of DNA out of a butterfly, or out of a plant, and we can start to reconstruct who’s related to whom by looking very carefully at the DNA sequences, and making an assessment about when they must have shared common ancestors in the past. So for example, you and I are more closely related to a chimpanzee than we are to a, to a beetle. And we could determine that very precisely, and very easily by looking at our DNA sequences.”

Refining our knowledge of the genetic makeup of all life forms will have a profound impact on the way that we classify things — the way we name the branches of the Tree of Life. We’ll hear more in future programs.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

music

Tree of Life - DNA

The vast interconnectedness of all living things is being constructed from the individual genes of butterflies to humans.
Air Date:03/15/2004
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience: Dawn, Pantanal wetlands

DNA is a molecule found in all life forms. Encoded in DNA is information that shows, among other things, the common characteristics shared by any single species. By studying the differences in the DNA of different species, scientists are adding to our knowledge of the Tree of Life -- a representation of the way that all forms of life are related. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"The genome basically refers to all of the DNA that we have in all of the cells of our bodies. And it turns out all organisms on earth have a genome and have plenty of DNA sequences in them."

Michael Donoghue is a Professor of Biology at Yale University.

"In recent years we've been able to take advantage of all of this information that resides in the genome - all of these DNA sequences - because we've got the technology now to go in and fish out individual genes out of any organism, and compare them one to another. And those are packed full of information about the issue of common ancestry -- which things share more recent common ancestors. So we can take a DNA sequence out of a human, and we can take the same chunk of DNA out of a butterfly, or out of a plant, and we can start to reconstruct who's related to whom by looking very carefully at the DNA sequences, and making an assessment about when they must have shared common ancestors in the past. So for example, you and I are more closely related to a chimpanzee than we are to a, to a beetle. And we could determine that very precisely, and very easily by looking at our DNA sequences."

Refining our knowledge of the genetic makeup of all life forms will have a profound impact on the way that we classify things -- the way we name the branches of the Tree of Life. We'll hear more in future programs.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

music