The birth of genes?

Take a break from Task Week and read up on some recent research coming out of the University of Washington.  Evan Eichler, a geneticist at the UW, thinks he may have discovered how new genes are born:

“About 8 million to 12 million years ago, the ancestor of great apes, including humans, underwent a dramatic genetic change. Small pieces of DNA replicated and spread across their resident chromosomes like dandelions across a lawn. But as these “dandelion seeds” dispersed, they carried some grass and daisy seeds — additional segments of DNA — along for the ride. This unusual pattern, repeated in different parts of the genome, is found only in great apes — bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and humans.” continue reading here…