Being an international student, with English as my second language, I have a great passion to learn how to communicate science to different audiences especially effectively communicate in English. I am a Science student in my second year, intending to do a major in Biotechnology specialization in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. After studied Science for years, I believe this subject might offer a good platform to bridge Science and Communication. This blog post might sound little bit scientific and the language that I used might not be effective enough. I could say that this is my first science communication piece ever. So, I am hoping people will give me constructive comment throughout this task for this semester. Let’s Communicate Science!!!!!
Inspired from Patrick’s first post, I believe average people should know more than ‘men are related to monkey’ about evolution. Evolution is a pretty common basic knowledge that a life sciences student should know. This is because most of the subjects thought in life sciences major, be it Biochemistry, Microbiology or Cell Biology, you will come across that Theory of Evolution is the basic ground to explain certain biochemical mechanisms and understanding the how live come to exist as it is.
Quite number of scientific breakthroughs have been made base on the understanding of Theory of Evolution. For example, the recent discovery of Malaria parasite to possess a plant-like structure, secondary plastid, has given scientist a new option/ alternative way to target drugs and eliminate this deadly disease. (I found this is really cool. Malaria may be treated with herbicides!!!)
Evolution, in a simple term, means changes in inherited genetic constituent in a population through the next generation. As time goes by, the changes become dominant and crucial for survival.
Evolution act on a population through natural selection.
Nature allows the survival of the fittest individual. Fitness of an individual can be the way to find food, to avoid and survive from predators, and be attractive in order to mate and produce offspring. Not going too much into the biological details, natural selection means the one that strong will survive to the next generation. When an advantaged population mates and produce offspring, they will retain this characteristic in the population.
Eventually, there are some possibility of random mutations accumulate in a small number of individual which, in the future, might be the source of natural selection. Variation in a population plays a very important role in natural selection. To cause the evolutionary changes, the natural selection force must be strong enough and the changes must be essential for the survival.
The emergence of the new species is partly because of the natural selection. In the old days, the emergence of new species may have been occurred as the result of earth geographical changes. When a population was separated to locations of different environment, and over the time, without inter-breeding between the populations of different geographical location (no migration), speciation tends to occur. This happens due to the accumulation of certain beneficial genetic component in the populations and their adaptation to their own environment.
Talking about human, does the concept of natural selection is applied to human population? Yes, it is!!Frequent traveling across the continents and meeting people are some of the reasons why human does not undergo speciation even if we are leaving in geographically isolated places.
Those were some basic concept of evolution. So, does really human being related to monkey? From my understanding, scientists classified human to be related to monkey, or to be exact the chimps, is based on genetic similarity of human and chimps. The construction of taxonomy (the evolutionary relatedness measurement) is practically based on this genetic similarity. Inheritance and the degree of similarity of genetic information may be the evidence of evolution. The exact mechanism has not been understood clearly yet.
Genetic :Science of heredity and variation in living organism (inheritable information from parents to child)
Herbicides :Or commonly called weed killer, chemicals that kill unwanted plant
Mutation :Error in genetic information
Parasite :The organism that benefits at the expenses of other organism
Species :A group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring
Speciation :The process of new species emergence
Taxonomy :Science of classifying organism in the certain category according to particular trait