Molecular evolution is in part a process of evolution at the scale of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Molecular evolution emerged as a scientific field in the 1960s as researchers from molecular biology, evolutionary biology and population genetics sought to understand recent discoveries on the structure and function of nucleic acids and protein. Some of the key topics that spurred development of the field have been the evolution of enzyme function, the use of nucleic acid divergence as a "molecular clock" to study species divergence, and the origin of noncoding DNA.
Recent advances in genomics, including whole-genome sequencing, high-throughput protein characterization, and bioinformatics have led to a dramatic increase in studies on the topic. In the 2000s, some of the active topics have been the role of gene duplication in the emergence of novel gene function, the extent of adaptive molecular evolution versus neutral processes of mutation and drift, and the identification of molecular changes responsible for various human characteristics especially those pertaining to infection, disease, and cognition.
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“Like Freud, Jung believes that the human mind contains archaic remnants, residues of the long history and evolution of mankind. In the unconscious, primordial universally human images lie dormant. Those primordial images are the most ancient, universal and deep thoughts of mankind. Since they embody feelings as much as thought, they are properly thought feelings. Where Freud postulates a mass psyche, Jung postulates a collective psyche.”
—Patrick Mullahy (b. 1912)