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Re: Rapid Lizard Evo

Hi Dan/ns

Good points both (tho one we will leave alone.) Lynn Caporale's work on Darwinism in the genome seems to imply that genes have evolved for "evolvability", thus allowing - if not actively accelerating - mutation in some parts of genes when an organism faces environmental stresses. With all that we are learning about epigenetics and how a mother can "prime" gene switches in her children, and what that implies for the Baldwin effect's rapidity in "fixing" new behaviours, well... evolution is a lot more than mere passive change of gene frequencies. But I guess we kind of knew that all along.


Dann Pigdon wrote:

Dan Chure writes:

Of course, the argument to be made from this, in some circles, will be that evolution does not take millions of years to occur and this is in line with a young Earth. Phenotypic plasticity is meaningless to the general public and will sound like a scientific coverup.

One of the worst generalisations about evolution is that it mostly involves random genetic mutations over long periods of time. I suspect that random mutation plays only a very small part in the evolutionary process, and that other processes (recombination, RNA interferance, learned behaviour, to name a few) provide far more fodder for natural selection to act on, and on a much smaller time scale.
Relying on random mutation is fine, as long as those mutations are actually beneficial (which most aren't), and as long as your environment doesn't change faster than *beneficial* random mutation can keep up with (which it almost certainly will). Otherwise you'd better have some short-term backup plans just in case.