Evidence for Evolution

By Brad Lazaruk, Wed 02 September 2020, modified Sun 21 August 2022, in category Evolution

Coursera, Twitter

Back in previous years I used to do a lot of arguing on Twitter about evolution. It was fun for a time.

When I discovered Coursera I also found a wonderful course called Introduction to Genetics and Evolution, taught by the wonderful Dr. Mohamed Noor from Duke University. I thought this would be a great course to help me get some more ammunition for my arguments about evolution.

But instead what I found was that I had really missed learning. So eventually I enrolled in another course, Classical Papers in Molecular Genetics by Dominique Belin of the University of Geneva.

(This course really knocked me on my butt. It’s utterly amazing what people were able to hypothesise, isolate, discover, and document back before they even were certain what DNA was even composed of. They were mapping exact segments of DNA before anyone had even seen DNA. Incredible.)

From the readings of that course I put together this list of papers that I would send to evolution deniers, or those who would say there was no evidence for evolution. I’m sure there were more at one point so I guess I’ll have to revisit that course and gather the papers up again.

  1. Paper exploring a possible hereditary, genetic cause of disease E. Garrod, The Incidence of Alkaptonuria: A Study in Chemical Individuality, Lancet vol 2, 1616-20 (1902). http://www.esp.org/foundations/genetics/classical/ag-02.pdf

  2. 1944 paper showing that genetic heritability has a chemical foundation and that DNA is likely the carrier Avery et al., Studies on the chemical nature of the substance inducing transformation of pneumococcal types, J.Exp.Med. 79, 137-158 (1944). http://jem.rupress.org/content/79/2/137.full.pdf+html

  3. 1953 paper showing the first determinations of the structure of DNA. http://www.nature.com/nature/dna50/watsoncrick.pdf

  4. 1943 paper showing that specific beneficial mutations can be isolated and duplicated in a population, indicating such mutations are not wholly random. S.E. Luria & M. Delbrück. Mutations of bacteria from virus sensitivity to virus resistance. Genetics 28, 491-511 (1943). http://www.genetics.org/content/28/6/491.full.pdf+html

  5. Seymour Benzer’s work in mutating specific sections of DNA, controlling inherited changes. http://www.pnas.org/content/47/3/403.full.pdf