Thursday, November 13, 2008

Evolution may not be Random?!

Princeton researchers may have stumbled onto a discovery that has the potential for showing that Darwin"s theory of evolution may have been fundamentally flawed. In a recent IO9 article, scientists have found evidence that evolutionary changes that were thought to take place gradually and randomly, under pressure from natural selection - may in fact be influenced by here to fore unrecognized elements. Princeton scientists investigating a group of proteins that help cells burn energy have uncovered evidence that organisms actually have the ability to control their own evolution. The very idea that evolution may not be completely random flies in the face of commonly held theory. Researchers were experimenting with proteins that regulates energy use in cells. They discovered that the proteins were correcting any imbalance imposed on them through artificial mutations, constantly restoring the chain to working order. Analysis revealed that these proteins seem to make minute corrections all the time, steering organisms toward evolutionary changes that make the creature able to compete better.
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5 comments:

Shaun said...

Makes far more sense than attempting to explain everything in terms of random mutations...yes, the theory as currently stands is flawed.

S.M.D. said...

I'm not evolutionary biologist, but if these proteins are doing what the article says, isn't it possible that it is a result of an evolutionary advantage gained from millions of years of random mutation? As far as I'm seeing, there's nothing there that says this was the way it always was, just that this is what they're finding now. Just as we weren't the same ten million years ago as we are now, evolution could be different today too. Entirely possible.

kf6hqc said...

I would like to think that millions of years ago when the world was young, so to speak, that there wouldn't have been that many species of living things for random process to work upon. Since there are far more undesireable mutations available than desireable ones, (a billion to one perhaps) that we got damn lucky back then S.M.D., don't you think? Now if the random factor were in our favor just once back then to help us cope with our environment, what are the odds that it happened again and again and again until our proteins got that one last lucky random mutation that kick started them into self correcting any imbalance imposed on them from that point on? Not to mention any random mutation that could stop the whole process at any point along the way. No, I think there is something else going on there than pure luck. Remember the law of entropy.

Paul said...

great comments people. This whole question is certainly chicken or the egg (there were eggs before chickens! lmao) But the questions raised are certainly as intriguing as the supposition itself. As for "fewer living things" I do have to point out that 99 percent of all animal life on Earth is extinct. So instead of there being fewer there were far more diversity which already brings the entropy statement into question. Remember entropy is point of reference just like everything else. However evolution, no matter what the driving force, is certainly an entropic function. SMD I do have to agree though, this function did not exist in a vacuum. I would have to side with it being the very example of evolutionary function in action.

paul

Beam Me Up said...

Oh and you guys do know that if you want to send me audio comments I will add them to the next Saturday's program. Just make sure that they are in my mail the Friday before the broadcast.