人类进化:生存不易

麦迪逊——毫无疑问,人类是复杂的,你我也为之自豪。我们相信,我们在生物学上高出其他物种一等。我们的生物功能被精巧地控制着,并能能够适应外部变化,这是因为我们有着复杂的互动网络。与其他物种不同,我们天生具有毅力和智力,因此我们能够改变环境,以此缓冲健康恶化带来的影响。

但是,或许正因为我们的复杂性的产生方式,我们注定要成为人类这个物种。套用科普作家鲍尔(Phillip Ball)的说法,大自然激活了一颗定时炸弹,而我们的复杂性只能短暂地延缓让计时器停摆。

为了抓住这一问题的本质,我们需要在分子水平上考察一下人类的构成,把我们与那些我们称之为“原始”的物种(比如单细胞生物)做个比较。该分析让我们考察大量不同物种体内的蛋白质,即组成我们的分子基石和生物功能的执行者。拥有同一祖先的不同物种的蛋白质,即所谓的“同源体”,为我们提供了很好的比较基准。

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