they had common ancestors. Even humans and bacteria share some similarity in DNA sequences in certain genes, and these similarities correspond to molecular systems with similar functions. Biological evolution thus explains why other organisms can be studied to understand biological processes critical to human life. Indeed, much of the biomedical research carried out today is based on the biological commonalities of all living things.
The study of biological molecules has done more than document the evolutionary relationships among organisms. It also can reveal how genetic changes produce new traits in organisms over the course of evolutionary history. For example, molecular biologists have been examining the function of regulatory proteins that cause other genes in a cell to turn on and off as an organism develops from a fertilized egg. Small changes in these proteins, in the DNA regions to which these proteins attach, or even, as recently discovered, in small RNA molecules can have dramatic effects on the anatomy and function of an organism. Such changes could be responsible for some of the major evolutionary innovations that have occurred over time, such as the development