Molecular Evolution Christian Schwabe is a maverick among scientists who study molecula

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Molecular Evolution Christian Schwabe is a maverick among scientists who study molecular evolution. Most molecular evolutionists appear to agree unreservedly with the official statement of the National Academy of Sciences: ...molecular biology validates the already impressive evidence that all living organisms, from bacteria to humans, are ultimately descended from common ancestors...Each of the thousands of genes and proteins provides an independent test of evolutionary history. Only a few of the countless possible tests have been performed, of course. But of the many hundreds that have been conducted, none has provided evidence contrary to the concept of evolution. Instead, molecular biology confirms the idea of common descent in every aspect ( Science and Creationism , Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, 1984). Schwabe disagrees--strongly. In his research (at the Department of Biochemistry, Medical University of South Carolina), he has found numerous "quirks" which do not fit into the standard neo-Darwinian picture. In a recent paper, "On the validity of molecular evolution" ( Trends in Biochemical Sciences , 11: 280-283, July 1986), Schwabe argues: Molecular evolution is about to be accepted as a method superior to paleontology for the discovery of evolutionary relationships. As a molecular evolutionist I should be elated. Instead it seems disconcerting that many exceptions exist to the orderly progression of species as determined by molecular homologies; so many in fact that I think the exception, the quirks, may carry the more important message (p. 280). Schwabe discusses his findings with the amino acid sequences of relaxin (a hormone of viviparity, sampled from a wide range of species), and argues that the sequences provide an "obvious discrepancy" which can only be explained by ad hoc arguments, such as faster or slower rates of evolution. "Unfortunately," he writes, "the use of such ad hoc arguments simultaneously eliminates a paradigm from the roster of hypotheses of science" (p. 280). Schwabe's paper provoked a response from William Bains (Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Bath, England), entitled "Evolutionary paradoxes and natural non-selection" (in Trends in Biochemical Sciences , 12: 90-91, March 1987). Both papers deserve a careful reading.


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