Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > Genes and the Central Fallacy of Evolutionary Theory > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

The organism as agent of its own development (1)

If I were to tell you that scientists have sequenced the genomes of two entirely distinct organisms — say, a flying creature such as a bird or bat, and a crawling one such as an earthworm or lizard — and had found the two genomes to be identical, you’d be sure I was joking. Such differently structured forms and behaviors could not possibly result from the same genetic instructions! And this is true — but only because no organisms result from genetic instructions.

In reality, there are flying and crawling creatures with the same genomic sequence. A monarch butterfly and its larva, for example. Nor is this an isolated case. A swimming, “water-breathing” tadpole and a leaping, air-breathing frog are creatures with the same DNA. Then there is the starfish: its bilaterally symmetric larva swims freely by means of cilia, after which it settles onto the ocean floor and metamorphoses into the familiar form of the adult. This adult, bearing the same DNA as the larva, exhibits an altogether different, radially symmetric (star-like) body plan.

Millions of species consist of such improbably distinct creatures, organized in completely different ways at different stages of their life, yet carrying around the same genetic inheritance.

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