Mol Evol and Mol Biol dilemma

Kurt Zeller kzeller at PLANTPATH.PP.KSU.EDU
Thu Jan 16 11:29:54 EST 1997

You wrote:

> Some of the comments from faculty that have been made are:
> "Evolution is an esoteric field"   (My favorite)
> "Molecular evolution is just using the tools of molecular biology but is
> not really molecular biology"  (This is the major criticism)

Depending on what you are doing, and how you are doing it, I might 
have to agree with that one.  In my thesis I learned to "cook-book" 
my way through PCR protocols that others had designed (with 
occasional minor modifications).  I studied genetic differentiation 
in a group of fungi through these PCR amplified DNAs, but didn't do 
anything "novel or molecular" beyond this.  I only used these DNAs as
"characters" in a greater analysis.   I guess you could argue the 
point either way.   Now if I had designed my own primers and 
protocols to get to that point, then I might consider at least part 
of the work as having been molecular biology.  

> "Molecular evolution belongs in the realm of biology, not biochemistry or
> molecular biology"   (????)
> "Studies beyond the gene or protein are beyond the realm of biochemistry or
> molecular biology"   (in other words if it is not addressed in Stryer it's
> not biochemically related - species, populations, etc.)
>    Maybe it is just the program I am in, but i never realized there was
> such a rift between the various disciplines.  To me, there is so much
> overlap, I don't know how you can dismiss one or the other and draw such
> sharp boundaries between them.   
>       I would be interested in your thoughts or suggestions on how to
> address this.  Anybody else out there have the same problem?
> Cheers,
> John Demboski
> University of Alaska Fairbanks

Kurt Zeller
Throckmorton Hall
Dept. of Plant Pathology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS  66506
<kzeller at plantpath.ksu.edu>

"Mock not the procrastinators,... 
for they will be the last to die!"

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