Biological Molecules

Organisms that share many traits should have a more recent common ancestor than organisms that share fewer traits. Darwin made this prediction by studying anatomy, but modern studies of biological molecules also support this prediction. In all species, DNA and RNA are the molecular basis for inheritance of traits. Furthermore, DNA affects traits encoding the amino acid sequences that form proteins. Biologists can compare the DNA, RNA, proteins, and other biological molecules from many different organisms. Then, they can look for similarities and differences among the data for each species. The greater the number of similarities between any given species, the more closely the species are related through a common ancestor. However, because the study of biological molecules is still relatively new, scientists continue to debate how to interpret this kind of evidence.

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