L'espèce humaine condamnée ?

MADISON –L'espèce humaine est indéniablement complexe et fière de l'être. Notre supériorité biologique paraît évidente. Nos fonctions biologiques sont régulées avec une précision extrême et s'adaptent aux variations externes grâce à travers un réseau d'interactions complexes. Contrairement aux autres espèces, nous paraissons doués de volonté propre et d'intelligence, ce qui nous permet d'agir sur l'environnement pour amortir les effets de la diminution de nos forces.

Néanmoins nous sommes peut-être une espèce condamnée, précisément en raison de la manière dont s'est élaborée notre complexité. Pour paraphraser l'écrivain scientifique Philip Ball, il semble que la nature ait déclenché une bombe à retardement et que notre complexité soit un stratagème efficace seulement à court terme.

Pour appréhender le problème, nous devons analyser la manière dont les êtres humains sont constitués au niveau moléculaire et comparer cette constitution à celle d'autres espèces souvent considérées comme "rudimentaires", tels les organismes unicellulaires. Cela nous conduit à examiner les protéines (les briques qui construisent nos cellules et exécutent les fonctions biologiques) de toutes les espèces vivantes, aussi différentes soient-elles les unes des autres. Les protéines orthologues (celles que l'on retrouve chez différentes espèces, mais qui ont toutes un ancêtre commun) constituent une base solide de comparaison.

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