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June 25 – “The Evolution of DNA” by Larry Moran

Next FSN meeting is June 25 [12 – 3 pm, Room 7170 at Telfer School of Management] on “The Evolution of DNA” by Larry Moran.

Abstract: What’s in Your Genome?
Your genome consists of 23 pieces of DNA containing 3.2 billion base pairs. The order, or sequence, of these bases is what determines the function of your genome. Scientists have been working hard for the past 50 years in order to figure out what’s in your genome. We now have some pretty good answers to this question. We will talk about how many genes you have and the functions of other important stretches of DNA. In my opinion, the best available evidence indicates that 90% of your genome is useless junk!
This conclusion is controversial. A great many scientists disagree. The reasons for the controversy will lead us into a discussion of evolution and why the Dawkins’ view of selfish genes is wrong. We’ll also talk about other explanations for why the idea of junk DNA is so strongly resisted by some scientists and why the popular press has misrepresented the scientific literature in an attempt to discredit junk DNA.

About: Laurence (Larry) A. Moran is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. His main interests these days are molecular evolution and science education. He is the author of a popular undergraduate textbook of biochemistry and numerous articles on his blog “Sandwalk.” (

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