See Inside January 2009

Putting Evolution to Use in the Everyday World

Understanding of evolution is fostering powerful technologies for health care, law enforcement, ecology, and all manner of optimization and design problems

Jen Christiansen

Charles Darwin surely had no clue of the technological advances that his studies of beetles and birds would unleash. Our progress in comprehending the history and mechanisms of evolution has led to powerful applications that shape a wide variety of fields today.

For instance—as the CSI franchise of television shows has popularized—law-enforcement agencies now commonly use evolutionary analyses in their investigations. Knowledge of how different genes evolve determines the kind of information they can extract from DNA evidence.

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