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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

In the developing ears of opossums, echoes of evolutionary history

When we are confronted with the remarkable diversity and complexity of forms among living things—the lightweight and leathery wings of a bat, the dense networks of genes that work together to produce a functional cell—it can be hard to imagine how chance mutations and selective processes produced them. If we could rewind evolutionary time, what would we see?

IGB researcher stars in national TV series

IGB researcher stars in national TV series

Karen Sears holds a gray short-tailed opossum in front of the camera. Special lighting has transformed this evolutionary biologist’s ordinary laboratory at the University of Illinois into a television set.

Two days of filming has produced just three minutes of the 54-minute episode of Your Inner Fish, a three-part PBS series based on a book by the show’s host Neil Shubin that traces 350 million years of human evolution.

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