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Of Mice and Men or: Revisiting the Ortholog Conjecture

I  have posted quite a few times before about the acquisition of new functions by genes. In many cases a gene is duplicated, and one of the duplicates acquires a new function. This is one basic evolutionary mechanism of acquiring new functions. Sometimes, gene duplication occurs within a species: part of the chromosome may be […]

2010 Homology High-Low Count

Previously on our show: ‘ Homology is Not a Quantitative Term‘. Homology is a drop-in replacement for the  “common ancestry”. It does not make any sense to say “low common ancestry” “high common ancestry” “micro common ancestry” or (egads!) “70% common ancestry”. You cannot be 70% homologous any more than you can be 70% pregnant. […]

An Ontology for Biological Similarities

I griped here twice about the abuse of the term homology in biology. And to quote the Bellman in The Hunting of the Snark:  “What I tell you three times is  true”. But while I gripe, someone is actually doing something about the whole terminology muddle. Specifically, Marc Robinson-Rechavi and his group in The University […]

“Micro homology”. Wut?

I ranted in a previous post about the use of homology as a quantitative term, rather than a qualitative term. Ben Blackburne commented on that post introducing me to “micro homology”, a term I did not know existed. I ignored its existence, until I heard it spoken yesterday at a talk, which sort of rubbed […]

Distant homology and being a little pregnant

(Thanks to F.B.  for the inspiration). Sigh… people don’t seem to learn. It’s been almost 22 years (yikes!) since a distinguished group of scientists published a letter in Cell calling for a responsible use of the word “homology”. If you were born when that letter was published, then in the US you can already drink […]