Recently, a friend who thinks about (and has published on) the nature of the eukaryotic genome, said to me, “Paul, no one really knows what the genome is any more.” He went on to explain that the picture most biologists carry around in their heads, of the relationship of genes to organismal form and function — indeed, the very concept of the “gene” itself — had been seriously challenged by discoveries in comparative genomics and molecular biology within the past few years. How all this will shake out eventually, he said, is anyone’s guess. But the theory of evolution, he concluded, cannot escape the coming turbulence.
For an overview of some of the discoveries my friend had in mind, see this article from today’s Boston Globe. [Registration may be required.]
And welcome to the Golden Age of Biology. Without question, it’s now the most exciting science going. Unfolding astonishing vistas of puzzling data, theory nowhere in sight, hard creative thinking required.