Darwin to DNA

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Great Pampa Finch
Darwin's Great Pampa Finch
Source: Museum Victoria

Explore the processes and mechanisms of evolution.

Darwin to DNA covers three different themes: the historical background on the discovery of evolution; the underlying genetic mechanisms required for evolution to occur; and how our understanding of the evolution of ourselves and other organisms has changed through the study of DNA.

Historical showcase displays highlight the roles of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in developing the theory of evolution. Specimens collected by Wallace and Darwin, as well as Gould lithographs, are displayed here.

The genetic mechanisms of evolution are highlighted. DNA is explained as the mechanism for evolutionary change, through natural selection and genetic drift. Co-evolution between plants and their animal pollinators, as well as sexual selection in birds of paradise, are examples used to illustrate the processes of evolution.

Darwin to DNA also highlights how DNA can be used as a tool to examine questions about evolution, and the relationships between species. Possums, birds and fish, as well as humans, are given as examples of how studying DNA variation can bring about new insights into evolutionary relationships. In our own species, DNA evidence challenges previous notions of the uniqueness of humans and the concept of race.


Event Type: Permanent Exhibition

Daily, Now Showing
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Evolution Gallery

Included with museum entry.
Museum Members receive FREE museum entry.

Comments (5)

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Caroline Copley 14 July, 2011 19:33
Just notices there is no right hand bar so that there are no extra resources available for evolution, although there are good ones for others e.g. entire marine page. Would just be a good edition. Also name should be changed to Victoria museum. I come from the bush and I don't think the museum is owned just by Melbourne. Also a lot of your research seems to be on or about Melbourne, e.g. no East Gippsland forests research stuff that I noticed, mostly seems to be about Melbourne. Very parochial. Otherwise a pretty good effort. But really more lectures would be great, and for regional people why not podcasts?
Discovery Centre 16 July, 2011 12:22
Hi Caroline - many thanks for the feedback which is always welcome. A few things that might be of interest; Melbourne Museum is the title of the venue rather than our organisation, which is Museum Victoria; Melbourne Museum is named more to represent the building's location rather than the theme of the content. We do conduct a lot of research outside of the metropolitan area, like the recent 'Bush Blitz' and our ongoing work on the fossil beds at Inverloch. You may also be interested to know that National Science Week includes some lectures from Museum Victoria scientists in regional Victoria. Additionally, you may find some interesting website content on an evolutionary theme on our website for the 600 million years website. 
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andrew 25 January, 2015 00:33
hi - I hope in this display you do not indoctrinate children into thinking evolution is Fact... You should be informing people in the display that it is a theory only. There is ample new scientific evidence out there to seriously doubt all parts of evolution from the so called big bang, to chemical evolution , to abiogenesis where it has never been observed that non living material can create living material . I dont mind kids being taught that this is a theory, but thats all it is. It is a far cry from a fact.. Thanks
Rod 6 February, 2015 17:05
Gravity is also a "theory" Andrew - you need to read up on this terminology is used in scientific investigations. In lay terms, evolution and natural selection are just as factual as gravity or as your internet connection. To reject this truth or to treat it as "one theory among others" is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children (ref http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clergy_Letter_Project). Feel free to spend a day in the museum reading up on the evidence for evolution - you may learn something.
Julia 26 January, 2016 10:37
Pretty sure it's a fact, Andrew.