Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time Enough for Evolution: part n++

The Rate of Establishment of Complex Adaptations
Michael Lynch, and Adam Abegg 2010

Several points about this important paper:

  • The concerns of evolution critics are addressed in the scientific literature. The paper mentions the critique of Behe and Snoke (2004) as a motivation.
  • The particular set of population genetic models discussed are based on sexual reproducing populations of diploid chromosomes. We are familiar with sexually reproducing organisms as large plants and animals, and therefore the charts in the article which show effective population sizes up to 10^11 individuals may seem alarming. But consider that there are many single celled sexually reproducing plants, animals, and fungi (protists, generally), and that even one trillion (10^12) eukaryotic cells take up less space than the human body.
  • Single cell protist sex has probably been around for a billion years.
  • The evolutionary features we find most striking are at the edges of the vast conserved biochemistry of life. We look at changes in timing and rate of developmental signals that can change a tapir into a giraffe, but these don't require new biochemistry.
Taking these points together, this paper is an important answer to the 'no time for evolution', bignum crowd.

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