Saturday 28 August 2010

Molecular Ecology and Environment

The World stands at the end of an era of mankind - the end of the oil age. Molecules such as CO2 (g), SO2(g),CFC's and pesticides have dominated environmental concerns for many years. Meanwhile, our understanding of ecological relationships between species, and our understanding of evolution of life itself, has been greatly enhanced by work on molecules such as DNA, RNA, proteins (including enzymes, hormones and pheramones), amino acids, phospho-lipids and sugars. At the same time, concerns exist as to ethical and ecological implications of cloning and of inserting engineered DNA fragments into the genomes of existing species of bacteria, virus, crops, livestock and humans. Perhaps it is by understanding the role of these molecules in the big picture of ecology, evolution over geological time that our understanding of nature and of our place amongst the 100 million or so other species may be enlightened. In addition, this may produce a philosophy of the biological sciences which has yet to pervade current political, economic and mainstream environmental thinking.