The history of molecular evolution starts in the early 20th century with "comparative biochemistry", but the field of molecular evolution came into its own in the 1960s and 1970s, following the rise of molecular biology. The advent of protein sequencing allowed molecular biologists to create phylogenies based on sequence comparison, and to use the differences between homologous sequences as a molecular clock to estimate the time since the last common ancestor. In the late 1960s, the neutral theory of molecular evolution provided a theoretical basis for the molecular clock, though both the clock and the neutral theory were controversial, since most evolutionary biologists held strongly to panselectionism, with natural selection as the only important cause of evolutionary change. After the 1970s, nucleic acid sequencing allowed molecular evolution to reach beyond proteins to highly conserved ribosomal RNA sequences, the foundation of a reconceptualization of the early history of life.
Famous quotes containing the words history of, history and/or evolution:
“Literary works cannot be taken over like factories, or literary forms of expression like industrial methods. Realist writing, of which history offers many widely varying examples, is likewise conditioned by the question of how, when and for what class it is made use of.”
—Bertolt Brecht (18981956)
“[Men say:] Dont you know that we are your natural protectors? But what is a woman afraid of on a lonely road after dark? The bears and wolves are all gone; there is nothing to be afraid of now but our natural protectors.”
—Frances A. Griffin, U.S. suffragist. As quoted in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4, ch. 19, by Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper (1902)
“By contrast with history, evolution is an unconscious process. Another, and perhaps a better way of putting it would be to say that evolution is a natural process, history a human one.... Insofar as we treat man as a part of naturefor instance in a biological survey of evolutionwe are precisely not treating him as a historical being. As a historically developing being, he is set over against nature, both as a knower and as a doer.”
—Owen Barfield (b. 1898)