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Re: Rapid Lizard Evo



dinoboygraphics@aol.com writes:

The majority of random mutations are niether harmful nor beneficial, most do not impact survival and reproductive success at all.

Exactly. Most are neutral at best (at least initially - lots of small 'neutral' changes can eventually accumulate to actually 'do something'). Of those mutations that have an immediate impact, most will probably be maladaptive. Hence why I refered only to *beneficial* random mutations, which have a better chance of having an immediate selective advantage.


... organisms that use sexual reproduction certainly leverage genetic recombination to increase the degree of phenotypic variation in a population.

Bacteria also benefit from recombination by exchanging genes with each other, so it's certainly not restricted to sexual reproduction.


Also true that organisms with complex central nervous systems can buffer themselves against selection on their genomes by altering behavior, and this is especially succesful in organisms that can transmit learned behaviours.

It should be noted, however, that the vast majority of organisms cannot utilize one or both of these buffers, so the accumulation of random genetic variation into the genome still provides the majority of variation that is acted upon by selection in the history of life.

Certainly this may be the case for *most* transmitted learned behaviour, but how many organisms don't benefit from recombination? Surely genes can 'cross over' (nothing to do with John Edwards) during asexual cell division just as much as during meiosis?


I suppose it depends on how you define 'random mutation'. I tend to restrict it's use to random changes in gene structure due to outside influences (radiation, mutagenic chemicals, etc), whereby genetic damage is inflicted that isn't completely repaired by the cell. I suppose some people might use the term more broadly to encompass any process that alters a gene sequence (which would include recombination). The difference I see between 'random mutations' and other gene-altering processes is that the former tends to occur in adult cells (which obviously will only be passed on if it occurs in the gonads), while the latter tends to occur during cell division.

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Dann Pigdon
GIS / Archaeologist              http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia             http://heretichides.soffiles.com
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