Evolution in the Everyday World; January 2009; Scientific American Magazine; by David P. Mindell; 8 Page(s)
Charles Darwin surely had no clue of the technological advances that his studies of beetles and birds would unleash. Our progress
in comprehending the history and mechanisms
of evolution has led to powerful applications
that shape a wide variety of fields today.
For instance¿as the CSI franchise of television
shows has popularized¿law-enforcement agencies now commonly use evolutionary analyses in their investigations. Knowledge of how different genes evolve determines the kind of information they can extract from DNA evidence.
In health care, phylogenetic analysis (studies of DNA sequences to infer their evolutionary relatedness, or genealogy) of a pathogen such as bird flu or West Nile virus can lead to vaccines and to guidelines for minimizing the disease¿s transmission to and among people. A laboratory process called directed evolution that rapidly evolves proteins can improve vaccines and other useful proteins.