On a geological time scale, it did not take very long for life to evolve from the very first organisms, with a scant few genes, to relatively complex microbes with several thousand genes that were capable of altering the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans. Gene duplication may explain the speed of this transformation.
Discuss the importance of gene duplication as a mechanism for evolution. Why is this phenomenon so important?
Explore the literature on molecular evolution to identify and discuss one specific example in which gene duplication and subsequent divergence has been used to explain the evolution of a physical or physiological system in animals. (hint: look for "lysozyme" to get you started)
Discuss the phenomenon of gene families. How are they identified? How are their relationships determined?
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