Darwin's dilemma resolved: Biologists measure evolution's Big Bang

Sep 12, 2013
This image depicts marine life during the Cambrian explosion (~520 million years ago). A giant Anomalocaris investigates a trilobite, while Opabinia looks on from the right, and the "walking cactus" Diania crawls underneath. All these creatures are related to living arthropods (creatures with exoskeletons and jointed appendages, such as insects, arachnids and crustaceans). Credit: Katrina Kenny & Nobumichi Tamura

A new study led by Adelaide researchers has estimated, for the first time, the rates of evolution during the "Cambrian explosion" when most modern animal groups appeared between 540 and 520 million years ago.

The findings, published online today in the journal Current Biology, resolve "Darwin's dilemma": the sudden appearance of a plethora of modern in the fossil record during the early Cambrian period.

"The abrupt appearance of dozens of animal groups during this time is arguably the most important evolutionary event after the origin of life," says lead author Associate Professor Michael Lee of the University of Adelaide's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the South Australian Museum.

"These seemingly impossibly fast rates of evolution implied by this Cambrian explosion have long been exploited by opponents of evolution. Darwin himself famously considered that this was at odds with the normal evolutionary processes.

"However, because of the notorious imperfection of the ancient fossil record, no-one has been able to accurately measure rates of evolution during this critical interval, often called evolution's Big Bang.

"In this study we've estimated that rates of both morphological and during the Cambrian explosion were five times faster than today – quite rapid, but perfectly consistent with Darwin's ."

The team, including researchers from the Natural History Museum in London, quantified the anatomical and genetic differences between living animals, and established a timeframe over which those differences accumulated with the help of the fossil record and intricate mathematical models. Their modelling showed that moderately accelerated evolution was sufficient to explain the seemingly sudden appearance of many groups of advanced animals in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion.

A living arthropod (centipede Cormocephalus) crawls over its 515-million-year-old relative which lived during the Cambrian explosion (trilobite Estaingia). A study of arthropods reveals that their anatomy and genes evolved five times faster during evolution's Big Bang, compared to all subsequent periods -- fast, but totally compatible with Darwin's theory. Both the centipede and trilobite are found on what is now Kangaroo Island, Australia. Credit: Michael Lee

The research focused on arthropods (insects, crustaceans, arachnids and their relatives), which are the most diverse animal group in both the Cambrian period and present day.

"It was during this Cambrian period that many of the most familiar traits associated with this group of animals evolved, like a hard exoskeleton, jointed legs, and compound (multi-faceted) eyes that are shared by all arthropods. We even find the first appearance in the fossil record of the antenna that insects, millipedes and lobsters all have, and the earliest biting jaws." says co-author Dr Greg Edgecombe of the Natural History Museum.

Explore further: Testing shows billfish demonstrate bone remodeling without osteocytes

More information: Current Biology, Lee et al.: "Rates of Phenotypic and Genomic Evolution during the Cambrian Explosion." dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.07.055

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Lorentz Descartes
2.2 / 5 (10) Sep 12, 2013
That cambrian explosion reminds strongly of our current technological explosion. Incredible to think it lasted so long. Where will we be in 20 million years?
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4 / 5 (4) Sep 12, 2013
Understandable, those animals were pioneers. Evolution rates leading up to the LUCA seems to have been unprecedented too. Not really comparable unfortunately (protein fold space vs trait space).

It will be interesting to see if they have compared with other fast radiations. The latest research on early mammals after the mass extinction that allowed their first expansion shows a rapid exploration of the trait space (e.g. growing larger et cetera). Only later a large diversification as they constructed niches. The latter rate would perhaps be the one to compare.

@LD: Well, only 20 million years if you don't include the Edicarian forerunners. Else it is something like 85 million years. Press releases and all that.
brunnegd
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 12, 2013
The bible thumpers won't like this.
DonGateley
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 12, 2013
Since there seems to be a real expert here I'd like to know how varying rates of evolution are explained.
Urgelt
3.1 / 5 (11) Sep 12, 2013
DonGateley wrote, "Since there seems to be a real expert here I'd like to know how varying rates of evolution are explained."

I'm not a 'real expert,' but I play one in comments. :P

Torbjorn called it 'trait space,' but I suppose many readers won't understand without an explanation, so here's my crack at it. When large swathes of potential ecosystem niches are vacant, and life has acquired sufficient encoding to exploit those niches, evolution speeds up. It does so because populations explode, which changes the ecology significantly for the other available species, creating new available niches, all happening pretty fast on a geological time scale.

Prior to the Cambrian explosion, photosynthesizing plants experienced their own explosion, so there were lots of available niches (food sources), probably imperfectly exploited by animal groups, who lagged behind in developing the genetic encoding required to express new traits. They caught up, and the race was on.
Urgelt
2.8 / 5 (9) Sep 12, 2013
Once niches are fully exploited, things calm down, and traits stabilize, though evolution never stops completely.

Major ecosystem disasters can free up or create new niches: climate change, volcanism, major meteorite impacts, changing sun output, maybe even bursts of radiation from nearby supernovas. And some disasters are produced by life itself - the most glaring and obvious being the arrival of photosynthesizing plants, which raised free atmospheric oxygen dramatically. Free oxygen is a poison to many anaerobic species; those were driven into narrower, oxygen-avoiding niches, freeing up trait space for new bacteria, aerobes, to explode onto the scene.

Explosions of diversity do require that genetic coding be sufficiently advanced to take advantage of open trait-spaces. Long periods of mutations, trial and error, and adding complexity to genomes had to happen before animals could express the traits that would make them so successful in the Cambrian.
JVK
1 / 5 (12) Sep 13, 2013
Creationists will love this. There is no mention of mutations but "Darwin's" natural selection occurs in the context of ecology / nutrient availability and the molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis / body type and color.

That shows the Cambrian explosion was nutrient-dependent and ecological niche construction must epigenetically effect the molecular mechanisms of morphogenesis. Thus, gene-centric evolution gets trashed by the evidence of rapid nutrient-dependent evolution at the molecular level that shows up in phenotype too quickly for accumulated mutations to do whatever they were supposed to be able to do (Darwin's dilemma).

However, we still see the changes must somehow be controlled by selection. Food is naturally selected and it controls the rate of adaptive evolution via metabolism to pheromones that control reproduction in species from microbes to man. Finally, there's a model that fits!

http://www.socioa...53/27989
DonGateley
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 13, 2013
Thanks, Urgelt. Can it be said that it isn't the rate of mutation that is changing so much as the rate of survival (because of niche availability) and the evolutionary evidence thereof in the geologic record? Variability of mutation rate itself is difficult for me to understand.
JVK
1.1 / 5 (12) Sep 13, 2013
"We even find the first appearance in the fossil record of the antenna that insects, millipedes and lobsters all have, and the earliest biting jaws."

It doesn't get better than that! He might just as well have said the antennae are used to find food and mates, and the biting jaws are adaptively evolved for more efficient food ingestion, which epigenetically effects the pheromone production that signals reproductive fitness, especially in insects. In my model, the honeybee model organism is perhaps the best link from microbes to man via conserved molecular mechanisms.

verkle
1.2 / 5 (18) Sep 13, 2013
Actually, this and most other topics regarding evolution are still unresolved. It is bogus science, trying to fit a pre-thought-of model onto our observations of the distant past. And it keeps getting itself into deeper ruts.

Now is the time to toss it away, and embrace something different.
nowhere
4.4 / 5 (8) Sep 13, 2013
Actually, this and most other topics regarding evolution are still unresolved.

Incorrect.

It is bogus science, trying to fit a pre-thought-of model onto our observations of the distant past.

Incorrect. We use observations of the distant past as well as the abundant existing evidence to develop such a well though out model.

And it keeps getting itself into deeper ruts.

Incorrect.

Now is the time to toss it away, and embrace something different.

Reason and logic should never be discarded.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2013
Variability of mutation rate itself is difficult for me to understand.

You have it right. When they talk about variability of mutation rate it's always the variability of the mutations that survive (are accrued). If species start conquering a new ecosystem where a higher percentage of mutations survive then you'll see an overall higher rate of accrued mutations in new (surviving) species.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the rate of mutation itself has changed.

Example:
If the rate of mutation is constant, say 1 in every million base pairs per generation, then if you up the survival rate of the mutants from 1% to 5% (because your ecosystem is more forgiving than before) you'll see a species explosion.

But you ALSO can see a species explosion if the rate of mutation changes while the 'friendliness' of the ecosystem stays constant (at least if the rate changes to a degree that doesn't lead to extinction of the parent species).

...or, of course, a combination of the two
beleg
1 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2013
Isn't ''friendliness' and the 'race' [is on] (competition?) contributions to the rate of evolution too?
Or even the rate of extinction - asserted to be at 99.9%?
JVK
1 / 5 (13) Sep 13, 2013
When they talk about variability of mutation rate it's always the variability of the mutations that survive (are accrued). If species start conquering a new ecosystem where a higher percentage of mutations survive...


This journal article does not talk about the variability of "mutation" rate. So, let's just ignore that fact and focus on mutations theory, anyway. Pay no attention to a model of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution. It confuses the theorists who wouldn't know a misrepresentation from an accurate representation incorporating ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction in a marked reduction of evolutionary time akin to this one: Analysis of 6,515 exomes reveals the recent origin of most human protein-coding variants. http://dx.doi.org...ure11690 Species conquer new ecosystems via use of available nutrients and signals to conspecifics that tell them what's for lunch.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (5) Sep 13, 2013
This journal article does not talk about the variability of "mutation" rate.

My post was in response to DonGateley's question - not related to the article.

If you want to plug your pet theories then leave my postings out of it. Thank you.
JVK
1 / 5 (12) Sep 13, 2013
From the "recent origin of most human protein-coding variants" article: "...the recent dramatic increase in human population size, resulting in a deluge of rare functionally important variation, has important implications for understanding and predicting current
and future patterns of human disease and evolution." The dramatic increase in human population size and the link to diversification of arthropods during the "Cambrian explosion" seems largely coincidental if both are not attributed to nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution.

Stick with mutations theory, instead, and you have mutant humans that evolved from mutant arthropods. Is there a model for that? Darwin's theory put 'conditions of life' first (e.g., before natural selection for morphology). If 'conditions of life' are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled (as they obviously are), Darwin was obviously a Creationist.
JVK
1 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2013
This journal article does not talk about the variability of "mutation" rate.

My post was in response to DonGateley's question - not related to the article.

If you want to plug your pet theories then leave my postings out of it. Thank you.


Sorry, I remember how much you hate the introduction of biological facts into discussion of anything. Others may not know that, so thanks for showing them, too!

Note, my detailed model is referred to as a theory, and mutations theory is represented as if it incorporated biological facts. If it did, the authors of this article -- the one being discussed -- might have at least mentioned the role of mutations in their calculations. I suspect that even they know how that would have led to a misrepresentation of their statistical inference.

It's not a good idea to start with nonsensical theory and try to end up with a model -- even when only the math is involved. That's why I started with biological facts in my model.

antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 13, 2013
Sorry, I remember how much you hate the introduction of biological facts into discussion of anything. Others may not know that, so thanks for showing them, too!

I just don't like people quoting my stuff out of context (i.e. trying to make it look like I was addressing an issue which I wasn't).

If you want to plug your pet theory do it without my help. I'm sure that it will be able to stand on its own if it's any good. Whether I "like introduction of biological facts" (in your opinion) or not shouldn't make a difference.


JVK
1 / 5 (12) Sep 13, 2013
Can it be said that it isn't the rate of mutation that is changing so much as the rate of survival (because of niche availability) and the evolutionary evidence thereof in the geologic record? Variability of mutation rate itself is difficult for me to understand.


In my model, ecological niche construction predicts social niche construction, which controls the rate of survival via the control of reproduction. Nutrients in the ecological niche are metabolized to species-specific pheromones present in the social niche that control reproduction. There are examples of this cause and effect across species and only a single amino acid substitution is required for controlled diversification sans mutations theory.

The result is "genes of large effect" that help to explain rapid species diversification with or without geographic isolation as seen in marine stickleback fish and other examples of pheromone-controlled reproduction, which include examples from birds.
JVK
1 / 5 (13) Sep 13, 2013
I just don't like people quoting my stuff out of context (i.e. trying to make it look like I was addressing an issue which I wasn't).

... Whether I "like introduction of biological facts" (in your opinion) or not shouldn't make a difference.


You responded to a question about the variability of mutation rate as if that were what the article was about. You chose obfuscation over their introduction of statistical "facts" and continued your misrepresentations of theory in the context of new statistical analyses.

Claims like "that's what theorists are expected to do" should be met with reaffirmation of facts, whether or not the theorists like the facts. Obviously, most of them don't, or they would learn from biologists about the physiology of reproduction sans mutations theory. Your inability to learn affects others, as does what I already know. scks2bu doesn't it?
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 13, 2013
You responded to a question about the variability of mutation rate as if that were what the article was about.

No. I responded DonGateley's post. Which I quoted. Anything else is your interpretation.
Stop making up stuff (or at least leave my posts out of it). I don't like being associated with crazies.
Gmr
3 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2013
...and I have to say what JVK is proposing is my perhaps only third exposure to crank biological beliefs. It would seem to be easy to make up things in something like biology, but I've seen far more physics crank science. Maybe it is a case of volume or volume.
beleg
1 / 5 (3) Sep 13, 2013
Further reading:
http://medicalxpr...nes.html
Fate of new genes can not be predicted.
JVK
1 / 5 (14) Sep 13, 2013
Thanks beleg: It says: "Our data suggests that the value a new allele brings to the individuals is not fixed. Populations are dynamic and complex with plenty of interactions between individuals and between these and the environment. Initial stages when the new alleles appear cannot tell us what the effects of the alleles will be a few generations later, when the population has already changed."

Any allele that is not fixed is more likely to represent potential for change, not something related to mutation-driven evolution. Eye regression in cave fish proves that cause and effect is nutrient-dependent, and will no doubt prove that it is pheromone-controlled since there is no other model for it. A model organism does show, however, that "Feeding plasticity in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus is influenced by sex and social context and is linked to developmental speed," which is consistent with my model. http://onlinelibr...abstract
JVK
1 / 5 (14) Sep 13, 2013
...and I have to say what JVK is proposing is my perhaps only third exposure to crank biological beliefs. It would seem to be easy to make up things in something like biology, but I've seen far more physics crank science. Maybe it is a case of volume or volume.


What I have continued to propose is based in a series of published works and presentations that span two decades. During that time, the only "crank biological beliefs" have repeatedly been found to be in the context of beliefs about mutation-driven evolution. Thus, others can readily see who the "crank" is here by a brief literature review. Start here, for example, since I am sure you won't read any of my published works before making more ridiculous comments, which is what fools do: http://dx.doi.org...728_0001
JohnGee
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 13, 2013
...and I have to say what JVK is proposing is my perhaps only third exposure to crank biological beliefs. It would seem to be easy to make up things in something like biology, but I've seen far more physics crank science. Maybe it is a case of volume or volume.
I think the cranks are drawn to physics because of the status of people like Newton and Einstein.

JVK may be a genuine crank, but he also has a profit motive with his dubious date-rape snake oil business.
JVK
1 / 5 (14) Sep 13, 2013
I have two comments on "Evolution Heresy? Epigenetics Underlies Heritable Plant
Traits" that are now live at http://comments.s...150.1055 I hope someone else here has a subscription, but find that unlikely due to the level of intelligence that's been expressed so far. In any case, I think it likely that the molecular mechanisms of heritable plant traits are conserved in animals, and would love to hear an account of how plants mutated into animals for comparison. Others might get a laugh out of that, also. Perhaps Torbjorn_Larsson_OM will lead the next hilarious exchange.
JVK
1 / 5 (13) Sep 13, 2013
JVK may be a genuine crank, but he also has a profit motive with his dubious date-rape snake oil business.


Thanks for looking at my domain, JohnGee. Did you happen to see any of the 600+ blog posts that refute mutation-driven evolution, or did were you simply hoping to find a way to get more sex?

Human pheromone-enhanced products will do nothing to solve problems associated with penis size. Sorry, maybe you should seek counseling for anger management.
JVK
1 / 5 (12) Sep 13, 2013
Note, we may have been the first to address molecular epigenetics in the context of hormone-organized and hormone-activated behavior. http://www.hawaii...ion.html

In the comments to Science: Abhay Sharma now includes references to recent works that support cohesive thoughts on a new (old) approach to incorporating biological information into scientifically unsubstantiated theories about mutation-driven evolution, which has failed to incorporate the physiology of reproduction.

I have already linked to my work , which may help with integration of current information into a model of adaptive evolution based on biological facts that include the physiology of reproduction.

The extension of our 1996 mammalian model to insects in 2000 and to their epigenetically-controlled life-stages in 2005 could have been expected to bring forward as aspects of epigenetic effects on alternative splicings that are still somewhat in the background...
JVK
1 / 5 (10) Sep 13, 2013
Any allele that is not fixed is more likely to represent potential for change, not something related to mutation-driven evolution.... A model organism does show, however, that "Feeding plasticity in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus is influenced by sex and social context and is linked to developmental speed,"


Now see:http://www.nature...417.html

"In conclusion, classical theory in population genetics is confirmed, but natural selection might not be of invariable magnitude and sign. Our findings thus set the stage for the development of more general theoretical models explaining the fate of new alleles across long evolutionary timescales22,42–44.

My model is not theoretical, it integrates biological facts across species from microbes to man. Species incompatibilities in nematodes are associated with cysteine-to-alanine substitutions (Wilson et al., 2011), which may alter nutrient-dependent pheromone production and fixation.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3 / 5 (2) Sep 13, 2013
Ouch! Reading the paper, most of what I said earlier is irrelevant.

The result is robust for telescoping into a "long fuse" time horizon. So yes, 20 million years was a relevant figure.

They did look at the first radiation specifically. That has interesting consequences for potential drivers. Apparently it is consistent with an earlier model paper that showed how these elevated rates could resolve the CE.

"The 4- and 5.5-fold increases in phenotypic and molecular evolutionary rates respectively provide quantitative support for the widespread view that evolutionary rates were elevated during the Cambrian explosion. Notably, both the patterns and magnitude of the rate elevations are strikingly similar for two very different suites of characters (one set dominated by anatomical traits, the other consisting of protein-coding nuclear genes)."
JVK
1 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2013
Ouch! Reading the paper, most of what I said earlier is irrelevant.


Thanks, Torbjorn. It's worse than that. If you read the article again, you will see they have no idea of what is naturally selected, yet they appear to be willing to continue looking for something of invariable magnitude and sign: a 'needle-in-a-haystack' in the context of adaptive evolution.

Meanwhile, my model clearly shows that selection must be for nutrients (in accord with Darwin's 'conditions of life') and that the metabolism of nutrients, which are found in variable quantities by different organisms, controls their reproduction (e.g., in all species).

I apologize for thinking you would lead with something else hilarious. But why not tell others how serious the problem is. Evolutionary theorists have alleles, as predicted, but no known means by which they become fixed in any population. If the alleles are due to mutations, they have yet to find support for mutation-driven evolution. That's pitiful!
JVK
1 / 5 (10) Sep 13, 2013
Torbjorn seems to have missed the connection between protein-coding nuclear genes and anatomical traits. In my model, for example, epigenetic effects of nutrients on intercellular signaling and intranuclear interactions allow for alternative splicings and stochastic gene expression manifested in amino acid substitutions that clearly link the epigenetic effects of pheromones to nutrient-dependent adaptive evolution sans mutations. What this means in the context of the Cambrian explosion is that the number of organisms feeds on itself, because the organisms feed on other organisms. Those that acquire the most nutrients in their ecological niche construct social niches that better enable adaptations to changes in the food supply, and neurogenic and socio-cognitive niche construction associated with learning and memory in multicellular organisms proceeds from there. Not just a theory, nonetheless, since there are clear examples in species from microbes to man. Did you not get the memo?
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
1 / 5 (1) Sep 13, 2013
@DG: Difficult questions.

First, I'm not an expert in biology, I study astrobiology. But my biology is patchy, I've studied molecular biology. What evolution I know is what I pick up from reading papers as these.

Second, these rates of 4-6 times aren't unprecedented. The paper describes how even _conserved_ genomic regions can have twice the difference in evolution rates in living sister lineages.

The new thing is that these rates are independent of whether you place the start of the lineages in the Edicarian (a so called "long fuse" explosion). It means there are there and they are seen in all species. (Seeing how arthropods makes up 40 % of the then species.)

[tbctd]
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3 / 5 (2) Sep 13, 2013
[ctd] The paper proposes what Urqelt says, ecology. And smaller sizes so presumably faster generation rates. How to predict the latter may be that it was easy for simple organisms to grow large in the first evolution races to avoid predation or to facilitate predation. As they got more complex they could grow smaller. (Say, exchanging armor and claws for size.)

The interplay between mutation rates and selection rates is like a battery and power usage. You can store up near neutral alleles in one environment. Then the environment changes selection can initially go faster than usual as some "stored" alleles may be either advantageous (goes to fixation - a stable level) or disadvantageous (goes to extinction).

There is plenty of evidence that mutation rates are under selection. They are balancing repair cost vs cost of deleterious variation, there is a correlation over 7-8 orders of magnitude between genome size and mutation rates! http://jvi.asm.or...ion.html
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4 / 5 (4) Sep 13, 2013
Creationist and lunatics trolling are hilarious! The former makes deconverts from religion, see Dawkins's Convert's Corner. The latter makes deconverts from lunacy, see ... well any university that accepts people who wants to learn actual knowledge instead of being forced to read web lunatics with unsubstantiated or erroneous pet theories.

That said, I take offence at being cited, poked and assumed out of context. I also won't play a stupid 'but it is context' con troll game.
JVK
1 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2013
Whoops, I just realized Torbjorn is still talking about yesterday's news after I linked to today's news about "An experimental test on the probability of extinction of new genetic variants." My bad. I should not have been so sarcastically critical since he remains under-informed. Indeed, there are times when one day makes a difference. In this case, one day makes a huge difference to anyone still touting mutation-driven evolution, or any other theory that fails to incorporate what's known about the physiology of reproduction. Without the physiology of reproduction, for example, there is no way for variant alleles to become fixed in any population of organisms. What did you think was happening; fixation by predation? That's hilarious!
JVK
1 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2013
Creationist and lunatics trolling are hilarious! The former makes deconverts from religion, see Dawkins's Convert's Corner.


Dawkin's schtick has been undermined during the past 50 years and thoroughly trashed by what's recently been learned about epigenetics / biological information, which links sensory input from the environment, especially the social environment, to genes and behavior and back.

Those who think that life came from outer space may not be aware of these facts, but they should certainly not be referring to others as lunatics or creationists. Simply acknowledging the fact that they know more about the biology of behavior than most "space cadets" should be sufficient. However, I've provided you with plenty of examples before you started the name-calling. Sorry if the examples made you feel intellectually inferior. I get that a lot.
JVK
1 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2013
...some "stored" alleles may be either advantageous (goes to fixation - a stable level) or disadvantageous (goes to extinction).


How? Is there a model for that?

There is plenty of evidence that mutation rates are under selection. They are balancing repair cost vs cost of deleterious variation, there is a correlation over 7-8 orders of magnitude between genome size and mutation rates!


The most recent link I provided shows that there is no evidence of how mutations are selected, which means it's back to the drawing board for theorists touting mutation-driven evolution. Don't you realize that biologists/physiologists are laughing at ideas like those you are telling others about here?
shavera
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 13, 2013
JVK, you have one paper in an impact factor 1 journal with an abstract that presents no evidence. You're not a scientist, you're a crank. Go home.
JVK
1 / 5 (11) Sep 13, 2013
Thanks shavera: see http://www.hawaii...ion.html

"Small intranuclear proteins also participate in generating alternative splicing techniques of pre-mRNA and, by this mechanism, contribute to sexual differentiation in at least two species, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. That similar proteins perform functions in humans suggests the possibility that some human sex differences may arise from alternative splicings of otherwise identical genes."

Our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review article inspired others to publish on what is now known as epigenetically effected hormone-organized and hormone-activated insect behavior, which I then used to link microbes to man via conserved molecular mechanisms.

I am a medical laboratory scientist. Additionally, I have two award-winning publications (one neuroscience award -- with ethologists from Vienna -- and one social science award). What kind of fool are you?
A_Paradox
5 / 5 (2) Sep 14, 2013
..Can it be said that it isn't the rate of mutation that is changing so much as the rate of survival (because of niche availability) and the evolutionary evidence thereof in the geologic record? Variability of mutation rate itself is difficult for me to understand.


Don, the creation of new niches will certainly allow diversification, likewise the extinction of a species will allow others to move in on the newly vacant turf. Naturally occurring variations within a species can allow this, particularly where the rate of expression of well preserved DNA is controlled by epigenetic markers [phosphorylation[?], etc].

Having a short life cycle, which most arthropods do, is also a very effective way for simple creatures to keep ahead of the game. It is why, for example, most trees nowadays [and mammals like us also] cannot outfox their insect predators. [That's a digression of course but arthropods should not be underestimated; I really hate mozzies ..]
beleg
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 14, 2013
Extinction is a part of evolution. Asserted at 99.9% for all life forms. This suggests no niche for any life form is certain. How much longer can we maintain the niche we created for ourselves?
Asserted existence life span for any life form is "typically' 10 millions years.

"Most extinctions have occurred naturally, prior to Homo sapiens walking on Earth: it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.[3][4]"
http://en.wikiped...tinction
JVK
1 / 5 (10) Sep 14, 2013
So, it's clear then: no one even wants to address the fact that the only experiment ever done in an attempt to prove any aspect of mutations theory, has proved there is no such thing as mutation-driven evolution. I would have thought that would be BIG news with HUGE impact. But everyone infers: let's move on, nothing to see here.

http://www.nature...417.html

http://www.scienc...+News%29

DonGateley
3 / 5 (4) Sep 14, 2013
@JVK, that you could draw that conclusion from those citations pretty much proves your high crank quotient.
JVK
1 / 5 (11) Sep 14, 2013
Thanks, DonGateley. For comparison, what does the phrase: "...classical theory in population genetics is confirmed, but natural selection might not be of invariable magnitude and sign" mean to you?

How could you not draw the conclusion from those citations that natural selection must first incorporate variables in nutrient acquisition/uptake in cells. That results in the metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones, which control nutrient-dependent reproductive fitness via variability in signs (e.g., of nutrient-dependent reproductive fitness), which control adaptive evolution.

I realize there may be some deliberate obfuscation in the wording of the reports, but since natural selection obviously occurs for variability and not for "invariable magnitude and sign," what are you inferring is naturally selected, and what scientific evidence supports your ridiculous misinterpretation of cause and effect after mutations theory has been refuted?
A_Paradox
not rated yet Sep 15, 2013
Extinction is a part of evolution. Asserted at 99.9% for all life forms. This suggests no niche for any life form is certain. How much longer can we maintain the niche we created for ourselves?
Asserted existence life span for any life form is "typically' 10 millions years.
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beleg,
your question is important! For those who think it may be *the primary* question facing us now.

I maintain that human beings need to start growing seaweed at the rate of some billions of tonnes more per year than the ocean currently produces. I reckon I know how this can be done; I have put on outline of this on the net at h t t p : // weareanewspecies dot blogspot dot com dot au /
If we don't do this - and in the process create an eternal source of fuel gas - then ocean chemistry will change beyond remediation and the ocean will stop its net absorbing of CO2 and will eventually start emitting hydrogen sulphide or some such.

Yet the fix is not rocket science!
beleg
1 / 5 (3) Sep 15, 2013
Let this species go extinct. To date we have left nothing behind or done anything to belong to the 0.1% exception to extinction assuming such an exception exists.