Several questions on evolution, and mutation (rate)

Oladele A. OGUNSEITAN oaogunse at UCI.EDU
Fri Aug 30 16:48:41 EST 1996

> 	There is the lurking suspicion that Darwinian definition of 
> evolution and speciation are based on tautological hypotheses  (see 
> PETERS, R.H. 1991. A CRITIQUE FOR ECOLOGY. Cambridge University Press). 
> If the ultimate criterium for a species is interbreeding, then, this 
> concept is becoming more and more meaningless in the age of genetic 
> engineering. What do you call a laboratory mouse carrying a luciferase 
> genes of a firefly ?. Afterall, breeding does mean the ability to "mingle 
> the genes". Indeed, in bacteriology, the concept of 
> species has been very difficult to pin down.  But we have a convenient 
> (systematic) phylogenetic arrangement to satisfy our academic curiosities.   
> MUTATIONS occur in parallel, and the likelihood of a successful 
> mutant is dependent on the population size and the size of the genome. 
> It seems to me however that evolution is a linear event because here, 
> ENVIRONMENTAL selection is a critical factor.  That is why it has been 
> possible for natural history to trace the lineage of organisms and to 
> construct phylogenetic trees.
> This has been the argument of the "DIALECTICAL BIOLOGISTS" - that the 
> strict Darwinians often neglect "environmental evolution" which would 
> take place in spite of biological organisms - indeed, in their absence.  
> What's missing is rigorous modeling of the coevolution of life and 
> environment as it constrains the scalar and vectoral parameters of 
> successful mutants.
> - Dele Ogunseitan
> University of California
> Irvine 92697-7070

More information about the Microbio mailing list