Less than a year ago, a consortium of some hundred researchers reported that the relationship between all major bird clades had been mapped out by analysing the complete genome of around 50 bird species. This included the exact order in which the various lineages had diverged.
Since then, two of the members of the consortium, Alexander Suh and Hans Ellegren at the Uppsala University Evolutionary Biology Centre, have expanded upon this model by analysing the avian genome through a new method, which hinges on so-called ‘jumping genes’. Their results paint a partially contrasting picture of the kinship between the various species.
By using the jumping genes, or so-called retrotransposed elements, the Uppsala researchers have found that, for instance, a cuckoo can be more closely related to a hummingbird than a pigeon in a certain part of its genome, while the opposite holds true in another part. The study found numerous examples to corroborate the existence of the phenomenon.More.
In addition to jumping genes, horizontal gene transfer shows that evolution is not necessarily linked to common ancestry. In other words, the assumed link between evolution and common ancestry, enforced via Darwinism in the schools, is simply not an accurate picture of the history of life.
The fallout from that will be a long time falling, though. Methinks I hear Darwinyelps already.
See also: Maybe biological classification is more of an art exhibit than a science pursuit
Debate!: Tree of life? Forest of life? What about matchwood?
Horizontal gene transfer: Sorry, Darwin, it’s not your evolution any more
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