n page 179 of Darwin's Black
Box Michael Behe claims:
"There has never been a meeting, or a book, or
a paper on details of the evolution of complex biochemical
He closes the chapter with this ludicrous statement:
"In effect, the theory of Darwinian molecular evolution
has not published, and so it should perish"
(Did someone say publish
The Elusive Scientific Basis of Intelligent Design
To be honest, I suspect that the extent of detail Behe
is demanding would require a combination cutting-edge
biochemistry lab and a time machine. How else can science
fully recover, for example, every single step in the
evolution of the bacterial flagellum that took place
billions of years ago?
In any case the claim itself is false since papers
do in fact exist that attempt to flesh out the
details of the evolution of various biochemical systems and
structures. Many such citations are included below.
But that is only part of the story. There are thousands
of additional published papers containing solid and
detailed evidence of biochemical evolution:
- Evidence of gene duplications and subsequent functional
divergence, or functional loss in the form of
- Evidence of exon shuffling and modular re-use within
- Evidence of both natural selection and neutral drift at
the molecular level.
- Evidence of the malleable and adaptive nature of
molecular evolution itself. For example in recent shocking
cases of bacterial drug resistance - the evolution of
- Evidence that the phylogeny inferred from protein and
DNA sequence comparisons is correlated with the phylogeny
inferred from evolutionary biology.
- Evidence that within every studied biochemical
system, the "parts" themselves have evolved, and the
interactions between those parts have also
evolved. Are we to believe that an intelligent designer
builds with components that evolve via the blind forces of
mutation, selection and drift?
Most of the citations and abstracts below were found
using the PubMed
MEDLINE search engine and microbiology database. A
simple search reveals that there are over 13,000 articles
that contain "evolution" as a
major subject keyword - hardly
the dead silence that Behe proclaims. Granted many of these
do not directly address the problem of adaptive complexity
in biochemical systems, but many of them do.
Note that I have excluded papers that discuss sequence
comparisons being used solely to determine lines of
descent. Michael Behe already admits that common descent is
Keep in mind this is only a small sampling of citations
collected from my own searches, and from the suggestion of
others (thanks for those suggestions!)
Last but not least. Please
help me find more citations and continue to grow this
page - especially if you have a background in biochemistry
or microbiology. Thank you.
- Cells, Embryos, And Evolution: Towards a Cellular and Developmental Understanding of
Phenotypic Variation and Evolutionary
Adaptability - a recent textbook
by John Gerhart and Marc Kirschner (1997 Blackwell Science)
- "In writing Cells, Embryos, and Evolution,
our aim has been to continue what Darwin started: to
understand not only the influence of selection on the path
of evolution, but also the capacity of the organism to
generate heritable variation upon which selection can
Four Billion Years An Essay on the Evolution of Genes and
Organisms by Willam F. Loomis
Vital Dust : Life As a Cosmic Imperativeby
Christian De Duve
- Many of these books suggested by
Ussery, Ph.D (thanks!):
Strategies in Biological Evolution - Proceedings
of a New York Academy of
Sciences conference, June 27-29, 1998. Lynn Helena
Molecular Approaches to Ecology and Evolution by by Rob
Desalle (Editor), B. Schierwater (Editor) (98)
Molecular Evolution by Wen-Hsiung Li (97)
Patterns in Evolution: The New Molecular View by Roger
Chemical Evolution: Physics of the Origin and Evolution of
Tracing Biological Evolution in Protein and Gene
Molecular Evolution (Biomathematics V. 24) by Vadim
Aleksandrovich Ratner (Editor) (96)
FAMILIES STRUCTURE FUNCTION GENETICS AND EVOLUTION
Proceedings of the VIII International Congress on Isozymes
Genetics and Evolution The Molecules of Inheritance (New
Encyclopedia of Science) (95)
The Causes of Molecular Evolution (94)
The Origins of Order Self-Organization and Selection in
Evolution by Stuart A. Kauffman (92)
Molecular Evolution of the Major Histocompatibility
Molecular Evolution on Rugged Landscapes; Proteins RNA and
the Immune System by Stuart A. Kauffman (91)
Evolution at the Molecular Level by Robert K.
Selander, Andrew G. Clark, Thomas S. Whittam (Editor)
Evolution of Life: Fossils Molecules and Culture by S.
Osawa, T. Honjo (Editor) (91)
Molecular Theory of Evolution (85)
Multidomain Proteins Structure and Evolution
Design by Computers edited by Peter J.
Bentley. Book & CD-ROM edition (May
Amazon.co.uk- Yes, evolution does
produce irreducible complexity!
Search for Life on Mars by Malcolm Walter, 1999 -
contains origins of life scenarios
Genomes Enhance Their Own Evolution? - "At a conference on
molecular strategies in biological evolution, researchers
discussed how evolutionary strategies can evolve, making
the process of evolution more efficient."
Passion for Evo-Devo - Fifth Annual Meeting of the
Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
Flagella and Cilium
Other Motor Proteins
Motor Phylogenetic Tree - Behe likes to play down the
importance of sequence comparisons. It's no wonder - just
click around this diagram for a while. It becomes obvious
that an important motor protein like kinesin has gradually
evolved across many species. From the Kinesin
Cell Membrane - Receptors, Pumps,
Citric Acid Cycle (Krebs
Amino Acid Biosynthesis
Transcription / Translation /
Drug resistance is biochemical evolution
Someone say Intelligent?
Cancer as Molecular
Test Tube and Artificial
Origin of Life and Cells
Here are a number of articles from a quick search of the
Journal of Biological Chemistry using the word "evolution"
at http://www.jbc.org/ --
Andrew P. Spicer and John A. McDonald
Characterization and Molecular Evolution of a
Vertebrate Hyaluronan Synthase Gene Family J.
Biol. Chem. 1998 273: 1923-1932.
Catherine TomHon, Wei Zhu, David Millinoff, Kenji Hayasaka,
Jerry L. Slightom, Morris Goodman, and Deborah L. Gumucio
Evolution of a Fetal Expression Pattern via cis
Changes near the Globin Gene J. Biol. Chem. 1997
Chien-Chia Wang, Andrey Pavlov, and Jim D. Karam
Evolution of RNA-binding Specificity in T4 DNA
Polymerase J. Biol. Chem. 1997 272:
David R. Gang, Hiroyuki Kasahara, Zhi-Qiang Xia, Kristine
Vander Mijnsbrugge, Guy Bauw, Wout Boerjan, Marc Van
Montagu, Laurence B.Davin, and Norman G. Lewis Evolution of
Plant Defense Mechanisms. RELATIONSHIPS OF
PHENYLCOUMARAN BENZYLIC ETHER REDUCTASES TO
PINORESINOL-LARICIRESINOL AND ISOFLAVONE
REDUCTASES J. Biol. Chem. 1999 274: 7516-7527.
Elizabeth A. Bucher, Gurtej K. Dhoot, Mark M. Emerson,
Margaret Ober, and Charles P. Emerson, Jr. Structure and
Evolution of the Alternatively Spliced Fast
Troponin T Isoform Gene J. Biol. Chem. 1999 274:
Florence Magrangeas, Gilles Pitiot, Sigrid Dubois,
Elisabeth Bragado-Nilsson, Michel ChŽrel, SŽverin
Jobert, Benoit Lebeau, Olivier Boisteau, Bernard
LethŽ, Jacques Mallet, Yannick Jacques, and
StŽphane Minvielle Cotranscription and
Intergenic Splicing of Human Galactose-1-phosphate
Uridylyltransferase and Interleukin-11 Receptor -Chain
Genes Generate a Fusion mRNA in Normal Cells. IMPLICATION
FOR THE PRODUCTION OF MULTIDOMAIN PROTEINS DURING
EVOLUTION J. Biol. Chem. 1998 273:
James E. Hagstrom, Michael P. Fautsch, Monique Perdok, Anne
Vrabel, and Eric D. Wieben Exons Lost and Found.
UNUSUAL EVOLUTION OF A SEMINAL VESICLE TRANSGLUTAMINASE
SUBSTRATE J. Biol. Chem. 1996271: 21114-21119.
Juan Ausi— Histone H1 and Evolution of Sperm
Nuclear Basic Proteins J. Biol. Chem. 1999 274:
M. Neale Weitzmann, Kerry J. Woodford, and Karen Usdin
DNA Secondary Structures and the Evolution of
Hypervariable Tandem Arrays J. Biol. Chem. 1997
Marieta Costache, Pol-AndrŽ Apoil, Anne Cailleau,
Anders Elmgren, Gšran Larson, Stephen Henry, Antoine
Blancher, Dana Iordachescu, Rafael Oriol, and Rosella
Mollicone Evolution of Fucosyltransferase Genes in
Vertebrates J. Biol. Chem. 1997 272:
Medeiros, Edward G. Rowan, Alan L. Harvey, and AndrŽ
MŽnez On the Convergent Evolution of Animal
Toxins. CONSERVATION OF A DIAD OF FUNCTIONAL RESIDUES IN
POTASSIUM CHANNEL-BLOCKING TOXINS WITH UNRELATED
STRUCTURES J. Biol. Chem. 1997 272: 4302-4309.
Ronald E. van Kesteren, Cornelis P. Tensen, August B. Smit,
Jan van Minnen, Lee. F. Kolakowski, Jr., Wolfgang Meyerhof,
Dietmar Richter, Harm van Heerikhuizen, Erno Vreugdenhil,
and Wijnand P. M. Geraerts Co-evolution of
Ligand-Receptor Pairs in the Vasopressin/Oxytocin
Superfamily of Bioactive Peptides J. Biol. Chem.
1996 271: 3619-3626.
Sandra K. Parker and H. William Detrich III
Evolution, Organization, and Expression of -Tubulin
Genes in the Antarctic Fish Notothenia coriiceps. ADAPTIVE
EXPANSION OF A GENE FAMILY BY RECENT GENE DUPLICATION,
INVERSION, AND DIVERGENCE J. Biol. Chem. 1998 273:
Stefanie Brumme, Volker Kruft, Udo K. Schmitz, and
Hans-Peter Braun New Insights into the Co-evolution
of Cytochrome c Reductase and the Mitochondrial Processing
Peptidase J. Biol. Chem. 1998 273:
Stephan M. MŸhlebach, Thomas Wirz, Urs BrŠndle,
and Jean-Claude Perriard Evolution of the Creatine
Kinases J. Biol. Chem. 1996 271: 11920-11929.
Zhe Lu, Elisa Cabiscol, Nuria Obradors, Jordi Tamarit,
Joaquim Ros, Juan Aguilar, and E. C. C. Lin
Evolution of an Escherichia coli Protein with
Increased Resistance to Oxidative Stress J. Biol.
Chem. 1998 273: 8308-8316.
(major MeSH 1998 Jan-May)
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