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Research casts doubt on genetic leap theory



Published: Fri, June 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Research casts doubton genetic leap theory

For the second time in about a month, a new study questions the idea that many genes somehow jumped from bacteria to humankind's vertebrate -- backboned -- ancestors.

In February, scientists in the publicly funded project to decipher all the human DNA reported that more than 100 human genes had apparent ancestors in bacteria, but no known counterparts in yeast, worms, flies or other creatures without a backbone. Apparently, they said, such genes had somehow jumped directly from bacteria to the vertebrate lineage.

But in May, other scientists cast doubt on that after doing their own comparisons across species. And in the June 21 issue of the journal Nature, still another scientific team says its analysis also fails to support the gene-transfer idea.

Michael J. Stanhope and colleagues at the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in Collegeville, Pa., focused on 28 human genes that had been proposed to result from bacteria-to-vertebrate transfer. Focusing on details of each gene's makeup, they drew up evolutionary family trees to trace descent. They found no evidence of the proposed transfer, they said.

Climbing and fire safety

PORTERSVILLE, Pa. -- Programs on rock climbing and fire safety will be featured this weekend at McConnell's Mill State Park on U.S. Route 422.

"Learn the Ropes" will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday in the picnic area on Rim Road. Dave Sullivan will discuss rock climbing safety, knot tying and various environmentally friendly climbing techniques.

Smokey Bear and friends will appear at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Kildoo picnic area. Members of the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Department will bring firefighting equipment and will be available to answer questions.

Benefit auction

BAZETTA -- Heaven's Hope Horse Rescue & amp; Refuge will have a benefit auction at 10 a.m. Saturday in the commercial building at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds.

All proceeds will benefit the organization. Terms are cash or approved check. Refreshments will be served.

Survivor of the year

Coping, a magazine for cancer survivors, is accepting nominations until Oct. 1 for "Cancer Survivor of the Year." The winner will appear on the cover of the magazine's January/February 2002 issue and will receive $1,000 and a crystal obelisk.

To nominate someone, send a 1,200-word letter and a color photo of the nominee to Survivor of the Year, P.O. Box 682268, Franklin, Tenn. 37068-2268. Include the nominee's home phone number and address, plus your day and evening phone numbers.




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