Two things come to mind: if he succeeds, it will be powerful evidence backing up the bird-dinosaur transition. Two: we will have some more aggressive chickens running around.Once again, it appears that hox genes are at the root of this research:
Hans Larsson of McGill University is working to produce chicken embryos with features the dinosaur descendants share with their gigantic ancestors of millions of years ago --a longer tail, teeth and clawed fingers, for instance.
The goal is to understand and illustrate evolutionary mechanisms in birds--and by extension dinosaurs, humans and all other animal life on the planet.
The amount of information that is coming out of research like this is amazing and is a stunning validation of evolutionary theory. On the other hand, if the chicken turns into a spider (think very very very bad Star Trek Next Generation episode), we have some work to do.
What Larsson is doing is looking for what he calls "switchpoints" in the chicken embryo's development --periods when teeth or claws, for instance, appear and then fade away as it grows.
By manipulating the chicken's development at those points, he figures to give it characteristics of its long-dead relatives.
On a genetic level, the differences between humans and other animals are small--switchpoints are what make humans human and not a fish or a fruit fly.
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