Why Did DNA Technology Lead to More Use of Cladistics Apex
Cladistics is a branch of evolutionary biology that attempts to infer phylogenetic trees from morphological data. Its rise was greatly aided by the advent of DNA sequencing, which made it possible to determine the sequences of genes and proteins. By comparing the sequences of evolutionarily related species, scientists can identify their common ancestors and understand how they evolved. This approach is vastly more accurate than using physical traits, which can be influenced by a number of environmental factors.
Another major advancement that led to more use of cladistics was the development of enzymes such as restriction endonucleases and DNA ligases. These enzymes allow scientists to cut and join DNA fragments in the laboratory, creating recombinant DNA. The recombinant DNA can then be used to insert a desired gene into the genome of a host organism. This allows scientists to produce pharmaceutically important proteins such as human insulin and other hormones, antibiotics and more.
One of the most exciting applications for recombinant DNA is gene therapy, which seeks to cure diseases by replacing a defective gene. This process involves identifying which genetic mutation causes the disease and finding a healthy gene to replace it. The healthy gene is inserted into a host organism, such as bacteria or yeast, and then the protein produced by that gene is used to treat the disease. Several different diseases are being treated using this technique, including AIDS, cancer and diabetes.