By means of genes, an organism inherits the hereditary characteristics and therefore the characteristics of its parent (s). Mutations (changes in the genome) can result in the development of new traits in the offspring of an organism. If a new trait offers an organism an advantage, this organism will have a greater chance of survival and of posterity.
This mechanism is called natural selection and as a result, properties that offer benefits are more likely to occur in a population. Over many generations, a population can acquire so many new traits that it becomes a new species under suitable conditions.
According to modern views, the oldest known organisms were bacteria, Archaea and ancestors of the eukaryotes that lived in watery environments around 3.5 billion years ago.
The komodo dragon, found only on a cluster of islands in Indonesia, are the world's largest lizards. In 2009, scientists discovered that the animal's bite contains a blood pressure-lowering poison, which explains its common hunting tactic: take a bite from its prey and then sneak it in until it is weak enough for a final murder.
This blood-curdling seminar shows a number of special evolution-driven processes that provide relevant insights for diagnosis and therapy of the future.
Your host: Peter van der Spek, Professor at Department of Pathology & Clinical Bioinformatics, Erasmus MC.