I just posted this to sci.bio.evolution but decided this
newsgroup might be more appropriate. Please forgive me if this
topic has been discussed here recently.
I was just wondering about whether anyone has studied the
effect of gene knockouts on selective advantage. Since it
seems that so many gene knockouts have apparently trivial
effects on development and physiology, at least for nervous
system genes, I was wondering what would happen if you raised
knockout animals, probably fruit flies, along with wild type in
a "natural" environment, and check after many generations to
see whether the wild type actually have an advantage
over the knockout (i.e. there are many more wild type flies in
the end). It just seems really odd to me that so many
highly conserved and therefore presumably important proteins
seem to have such minor effects on cell functioning.