The fourth issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach

The fourth issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach — the new journal aspiring to promote accurate understanding and comprehensive teaching of evolutionary theory for a wide audience — is now available on-line.The theme of the issue is the evolution of the eye. Featured, accordingly, are original scientific articles "A Genetic Perspective on Eye Evolution: Gene Sharing, Convergence and Parallelism," "Charting Evolution’s Trajectory: Using Molluscan Eye Diversity to Understand Parallel and Convergent Evolution," "Early Evolution of the Vertebrate Eye — Fossil Evidence," "Evolution of Insect Eyes: Tales of Ancient Heritage, Deconstruction, Reconstruction, Remodeling, and Recycling," "Exceptional Variation on a Common Theme: The Evolution of Crustacean Compound Eyes," "Opening the 'Black Box': The Genetic and Biochemical Basis of Eye Evolution," "Suboptimal Optics: Vision Problems as Scars of Evolutionary History," "The Causes and Consequences of Color Vision," "The Evolution of Complex Organs," "The Evolution of Extraordinary Eyes: The Cases of Flatfishes and Stalk-eyed Flies," and "The Origin of the Vertebrate Eye." And there are resources for teachers and reviews of books, too, including — consistently with the issue's theme — a discussion of teaching about evolution with the example of blind cave fish and a review of Jay Hosler's comic Optical Allusions.

Also included is the fourth installment of NCSE's regular column for Evolution: Education and Outreach, Overcoming Obstacles to Evolution Education. In their article "Misconceptions About the Evolution of Complexity," Andrew J. Petto (a member of NCSE's board of directors) and NCSE's Louise S. Mead take the vertebrate eye as their example, since "the complexity of vertebrate eyes is a common antievolution argument." In the abstract, they summarize, "Despite data and theory from comparative anatomy, embryology, molecular biology, genomics, and evolutionary developmental biology, antievolutionists continue to present the eye as an example of a structure too complex to have evolved. They stress what we have yet to explain about the development and evolution of eyes and present incomplete information as evidence that evolution is a 'theory in crisis.' An examination of the evidence, however, particularly evidence that has accumulated in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, refutes antievolutionists' claims. The distribution of eyes in extant organisms, combined with what we now know about the control of eye development across diverse groups of organisms, provides significant evidence for the evolution of all major components of the eye, from molecular to morphological, and provides an excellent test of predictions based on common ancestry."

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