Lynn Helena Caporale, independent scholar and author of Darwin in the Genome, discusses DNA sequencing and all things related to the genome.
Caporale is a career biochemist whose research in the areas of natural selection and genome variation has created a buzz in the scientific community. Caporale is a regular chair of various international interdisciplinary conferences and workshops. In addition to authoring books on the subject, Caporale has also been the editor of many volumes such as, The Implicit Genome, Molecular Strategies in Biological Evolution, and The Effect of Genome Sequence and Structure on Genome Variation in Evolution.
Caporale discusses her background and the personal journey to her current career. She talks about her early study of chemistry, her interest in observing the relationships in protein families, and discovering how they might have evolved as well. She details information on genetic coding and DNA sequencing, and its relevance to her work today. She explains overlapping protein coding in regard to amino acids and variations. And as she states, there is much information within the genome that we are not aware of but we’re learning more over time.
Caporale states evolutionary theory says selection acts on variations. What Caporale proposes is that selection acts on the variations of probability along the genome, just as it acts on variations in beaks and wings, and so forth. She talks about a feedback control as it relates to variation and selection in a loop. Genomes that generate variants that are more likely to survive are the genomes that would be more effective at adapting and would therefore tend to survive. Caporale cites examples to support her thoughts, such as bacteria that have Coat proteins. As she states, bacteria can infect us, and our immune system can see the surface of the bacterium and mount an immune response, and Caporale explains what happens when the Coat mutates and how that affects the outcome. Additionally, she provides extensive information on adaptations and mutations within organisms.
The biological scientist discusses human population in regard to the genome. She outlines the three important concepts that relate to her studies: cooperation, diversity, and feedback control. Caporale talks about stress responses that produce specific variation in the genome, and explains how, miraculously, enzymes can move DNA around. Caporale talks about the many different theories in the building blocks of life and she provides more information on some of the unsettled issues that relate to life and how it is created.