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Thread: Biologists surprised to discover that some "random" mutations may not be so random

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    Default Biologists surprised to discover that some "random" mutations may not be so random

    Neo-Darwinism refers to any branch of science which combines Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection with Gregor Mendel's discipline of genetics. The overwhelming majority of biologists and geneticists are neo-Darwinists, and one primary tenet of neo-Darwinism is the idea that the genetic mutations which cause living creatures to evolve occur randomly. For humans, this means that mutations from the entirely beneficial (opposable thumbs) and the undesirable (say, those which cause obstructive sleep apnea) can be attributed to chance rather than some kind of purposeful direction. The ones that get passed on permanently do so through natural selection ó that is, because they just so happen to help their hosts, who then survive longer and have more opportunities to perpetuate the mutation via reproduction.

    At least, that was the prevailing assumption. A new study led by researchers from Israel and Ghana and published in the journal Genome Research reveals that, in fact, at least one helpful genetic mutation was not random at all. They specifically studied the HbS mutation, which protects people against malaria, and found that it arose more frequently within a population where malaria is endemic (Africa) than within a population where it is not (Europe).

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/techn...dom/ar-AATvoY1
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    I am not surprised. In fact I have stated many times that evolution is not random.
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    Good stuff.
    In the 21st century, genetics has replaced physics as the Queen of the sciences, in terms of funding and preeminence.

    Before the Bible thumpers get to excited, this study, while surprising, is just suggesting that non-gene parts of DNA experience mutations at a higher rate than protein-coding gene sections of DNA.


    Moral of the story: these plant cells seemingly evolved some mechanism to protect the biologically-important parts of the genome from mutations, at the expense of the non-gene parts of the DNA molecule.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    Good stuff.
    In the 21st century, genetics has replaced physics as the Queen of the sciences, in terms of funding and preeminence.

    Before the Bible thumpers get to excited, this study, while surprising, is just suggesting that non-gene parts of DNA experience mutations at a higher rate than protein-coding gene sections of DNA.


    Moral of the story: these plant cells seemingly evolved some mechanism to protect the biologically-important parts of the genome from mutations, at the expense of the non-gene parts of the DNA molecule.
    Oh this had certainly been predicted. This is unexpected evidence from a completely different line of reasoning that possibly supports punctuated equilibrium. I bet Eldridge and Gould would be tripping out.

    I’m still trying to read the peer reviewed article but I have keep stoping every two sentences to reference and cross reference the jargon. Then there are the footnotes and references and I have the flu.

    So far it’s like most peer reviewed articles. If you’re not an expert in the field you have to read the bloody thing 30 times.

    That and I get so caught up in the methodologies that I loose focus on what it all means. LOL
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    Quote Originally Posted by AProudLefty View Post
    I am not surprised. In fact I have stated many times that evolution is not random.
    Well thatís not exactly the conclusion here. Itís like 1 beneficial mutated gene that didnít mutate randomly vs trillionís of genes with with beneficial mutations that did mutate randomly.

    So this would simply create a new paradigm for Neo-Darwinism from all mutations are random to all mutations are random except one. The larger implication being multiple routes for natural selection to occur other than a purely Neo-Darwinist one.
    On the other hand the evidence provided doesnít explain how frequent or rare such occurrences are. It only provides one example where it didnít occur randomly.

    So this mean Neo Darwinism will need to be revised to account for how on rare occasions adaptations do not occur by natural selection as it is currently defined.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mott the Hoople View Post
    Well that’s not exactly the conclusion here. It’s like 1 beneficial mutated gene that didn’t mutate randomly vs trillion’s of genes with with beneficial mutations that did mutate randomly.

    So this would simply create a new paradigm for Neo-Darwinism from all mutations are random to all mutations are random except one. The larger implication being multiple routes for natural selection to occur other than a purely Neo-Darwinist one.
    On the other hand the evidence provided doesn’t explain how frequent or rare such occurrences are. It only provides one example where it didn’t.

    So this mean Neo Darwinism will need to be revised to account for how on rare occasions adaptations do not occur by natural selection as it is currently defined.
    Those "trillions of genes that have been mutated randomly" are mostly eliminated. It's like the Infinite Monkey Theorem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mott the Hoople View Post
    Oh this had certainly been predicted. This is unexpected evidence from a completely different line of reasoning that possibly supports punctuated equilibrium. I bet Eldridge and Gould would be tripping out.

    I’m still trying to read the peer reviewed article but I have keep stoping every two sentences to reference and cross reference the jargon. Then there are the footnotes and references and I have the flu.

    So far it’s like most peer reviewed articles. If you’re not an expert in the field you have to read the bloody thing 30 times.

    That and I get so caught up in the methodologies that I loose focus on what it all means. LOL
    I wouldn't even attempt to slog my way through the peer reviewed article, it is beyond my pay grade!

    Isn't punctuated equilibrium widely accepted by now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by guno View Post
    Neo-Darwinism refers to any branch of science which combines Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection with Gregor Mendel's discipline of genetics. The overwhelming majority of biologists and geneticists are neo-Darwinists, and one primary tenet of neo-Darwinism is the idea that the genetic mutations which cause living creatures to evolve occur randomly. For humans, this means that mutations from the entirely beneficial (opposable thumbs) and the undesirable (say, those which cause obstructive sleep apnea) can be attributed to chance rather than some kind of purposeful direction. The ones that get passed on permanently do so through natural selection — that is, because they just so happen to help their hosts, who then survive longer and have more opportunities to perpetuate the mutation via reproduction.

    At least, that was the prevailing assumption. A new study led by researchers from Israel and Ghana and published in the journal Genome Research reveals that, in fact, at least one helpful genetic mutation was not random at all. They specifically studied the HbS mutation, which protects people against malaria, and found that it arose more frequently within a population where malaria is endemic (Africa) than within a population where it is not (Europe).

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/techn...dom/ar-AATvoY1
    Whomever wrote this article does not seem to understand what they are talking about.

    He/she types:

    'The overwhelming majority of biologists and geneticists are neo-Darwinists, and one primary tenet of neo-Darwinism is the idea that the genetic mutations which cause living creatures to evolve occur randomly. For humans, this means that mutations from the entirely beneficial (opposable thumbs) and the undesirable (say, those which cause obstructive sleep apnea) can be attributed to chance rather than some kind of purposeful direction.'

    I HIGHLY doubt that most biologists in 2022 think of genetics as mostly down to 'random chance/luck'.

    So, people whom descended from people whom lived near the equator have more melanin in their skin mostly or even partially due to 'random chance'?
    Come on now?
    I doubt almost ANY biologists think that?

    I don't doubt the findings of this study.
    But the author of this linked article claiming it 'surprises' scientists sounds like absolute nonsense.
    I bet you almost no biologists are surprised by the studies findings.
    I am not a biologist and the study surprised me not in the slightest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by McRocket View Post
    Whomever wrote this article does not seem to understand what they are talking about.


    I HIGHLY doubt that most biologists in 2022 think of genetics as mostly down to 'random chance/luck'.

    So, people whom descended from people whom lived near the equator have more melanin in their skin mostly or even partially due to 'random chance'?
    Come on now?
    I doubt almost ANY biologists think that?
    No, genetic mutation is generally considered to be random. They are basically copying errors when the DNA genetic code is transcribed by RNA.

    It is natural selection which is not random.

    The genetic mutations that result in phenotypes or attributes which are favorable for the given environmental conditions will be preserved and passed along in a reproducing population.

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    Quote Originally Posted by guno View Post
    Neo-Darwinism refers to any branch of science which combines Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection with Gregor Mendel's discipline of genetics. The overwhelming majority of biologists and geneticists are neo-Darwinists, and one primary tenet of neo-Darwinism is the idea that the genetic mutations which cause living creatures to evolve occur randomly. For humans, this means that mutations from the entirely beneficial (opposable thumbs) and the undesirable (say, those which cause obstructive sleep apnea) can be attributed to chance rather than some kind of purposeful direction. The ones that get passed on permanently do so through natural selection — that is, because they just so happen to help their hosts, who then survive longer and have more opportunities to perpetuate the mutation via reproduction.

    At least, that was the prevailing assumption. A new study led by researchers from Israel and Ghana and published in the journal Genome Research reveals that, in fact, at least one helpful genetic mutation was not random at all. They specifically studied the HbS mutation, which protects people against malaria, and found that it arose more frequently within a population where malaria is endemic (Africa) than within a population where it is not (Europe).

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/techn...dom/ar-AATvoY1
    Interesting.

    Not a geneticist, but some readings on things like sexual preference where there is no specific gene had discussed multiple genes having to switch on or off to produce an effect.

    If the phenomenon exists, it could apply to some ancient diseases like Malaria.
    “Livnat speculated that evolution could actually be shaped by a combination of "external information" through natural selection and "internal information" that is picked up in the human genome from generation to generation and leads to the creation of mutations.”
    https://www.britannica.com/science/m...hrough-history
    The malaria parasites of humans are thought to have evolved in tropical Africa from 2.5 million to 30 million years ago (P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae are among the oldest of the group). Scientists suspect that the human-specific parasites in existence today diverged from ancient lineages that infected early apes.

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    The persisting questions of evolution I would like to see more progress on:

    A Paradox: DNA stores information on how to build proteins -- but proteins are required to translate that information. A chicken vs. egg conundrum.

    A Mystery: The first direct evidence we have of life is at 3.5 billion years ago in rocks of western Australia. But these appear to be already fully-formed prokaryotes, i.e. fully developed, complex cellular life. Where is the evidence of the intermediate steps necessary to transition from an inert soup of chemicals, to fully developed cellular life?* Leading contenders seem to be some form of transitional RNA biomolecules, but the jury is out.



    *I know there are hypotheses and educated guesses. That is not corroboration or confirmation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AProudLefty View Post
    Those "trillions of genes that have been mutated randomly" are mostly eliminated. It's like the Infinite Monkey Theorem.
    No, not eliminated. Protected. The genetic mutations still predominantly occur randomly. A common misconception about evolutionary theory is that natural selection is random because genetic mutations are random which is completely wrong. Natural Selection has always been the antithesis of “random”.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mott the Hoople View Post
    No, not eliminated. Protected. The genetic mutations still predominantly occur randomly. A common misconception about evolutionary theory is that natural selection is random because genetic mutations are random which is completely wrong. Natural Selection has always been the antithesis of “random”.
    I understand but I am talking about the random mutations that will not survive in an environment. Those are eliminated.
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