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What is evolution?

Francis A. Chiafari chiafari at umbc4.umbc.edu
Fri Sep 20 09:22:07 EST 1991

I would describe the cytochrome C polymorphisms as genetic variation, not
evolution. Evolution would involve the constriction of that polymophism by
Founders effect or selection such that a particular type became indicative
of the species...in other words, a genotype became most prevalent when selected
for in that population. Not until then has evolution occurred. Before that, 
you have a pool of polymorphism and nothing more.

I remember reading (somewhere!) that aligators have stopped evolving. Assuming
this is true for some species, does that represent the lack of polymorphism 
within the population of that organism or a lack of selective pressure...or
both. If the amount of polymorphism is reduced in reference to other species,
does that relate to a reduced mutation rate?

It seems that we are trying to define the difference between polymorphism,
gradual evolution and punctual evolution. I believe they are all different,
and not gradations of the same phenomenon.

New insights in these areas would be welcome.
	-frank chiafari

Science and engineering must be linked, or science degrades into philosophy...
	Francis A. Chiafari  -Molecular Biologist- Balt. Rh Typing Lab
			        w (301)225-9595      h (301)719-9007

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