Several questions on evolution, and mutation (rate)

Fri Aug 30 02:13:51 EST 1996

>On 27 Aug 1996, Joan Shields wrote:
>> From: Joan Shields <joan at>
>> Newgroups:,, sci.math,
>>     bionet.molbio.evolution, bionet.microbiology
>> Stats haven't always been one of my strong points but there is something I
>> think I can add - something I think a lot of people are overlooking.
>> Whether or not is would take, on average, X numbers of tries in order to
>> form amino acids - you have to remember that all those different
>> combinations didn't/don't occur one right after the other - they can
>> happen all at once.  In other words, evolution doesn't just happen in a
>> straight line - mutations occur everywhere and in every direction.  If you
>> look at mutations that have been successful, then it appears that
>> evolution is going in a line (or meandering path).
>But they have to occur at the right time in combination with a
>lightening strike, etc.
>> Just look at how variable HIV is.  All these mutations all occuring at the
>> same time - some are viable and some aren't.  Some are better at surviving
>> for a while or better at transmission or better at eluding drugs and the
>> body's own systems.
>But in all cases, it is STILL HIV, right??  I.e. no evolution occurred -
>adaptation, variability of a species yes - but not evolution.  No new
>"creature" was created.

Do you expect a whole new creature to appear after one generation? It won't
happen overnight but it will happen..... How are you defining new and
creature?  I think you need to do some more thinking yourself....

*** I hereby reserve the right to be petty, rude, infantile, insulting,
purile, condescending, bloody-minded, bastardising, arrogant, obscene,
demeaning, inconsiderate and insensitive.  How you react is your

Paul Taylor
Department of Microbiology
University of Melbourne
Parkville   Victoria    3052
Ph  : (03) 9344 5698
email : taylorpm at

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