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The Punctuated Clock

MEV V/D MERWE vdmerwea at intekom.co.za
Tue Jun 10 15:46:36 EST 1997

I am an honours student in Molecular Biology at the University of the Free
State in South Africa. Our group is primarily occupied with molecular
systematics (especially of fungi), and I would like to make the following
comments which are partly my own theories and partly theories of others
(references included):

1. The fact that evolution takes place is not only relevant to us as
humans, but to the whole of Ghaia, since it changes the essential make-up
of all living organisms on earth. Molecular techniques has helped a great
deal in defining evolution, but we have to see the big picture. Since a
change in the DNA of an organism results in a change of its phenotype,
natural forces interact with the phenotype and only indirectly with the
genotype. Mutations thus occur not as a result of natural selection against
the DNA of the organism, but against the traits that DNA codes for.

2. The methods we have used in the past to study population genetics is
becoming outdated at a phenomenal rate. it has been proven* that the
traditional way of studying populations of fungi, vegetative compatibility
testing, is NOT a selectable marker, and therefore all previous population
studies with VCG's have to be reconsidered.
(*) Liu, Y. C., Cortesi, P., Double, M. L., MacDonald, W. L., and Milgroom,
M. G. 1996. Diversity and multilocus genetic structure in populations of
Cryphonectria parasitica. Phytopathology 86:1344-1315.

Albe van der Merwe
e-Mail (HOME): vdmerwea at intekom.co.za
e-Mail(UFS)    : vdmerwea at wwg3.uovs.ac.za

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