Re: [humanism-174] Is Evolution Predictable?

From: Mike
Sent on: Saturday, October 27, 2012 4:41 PM
I suspect that SJ Gould is turning over in his grave at at least 1000 rpm.

Mike S

On Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM, Randy Pelton <[address removed]> wrote:
Very interesting finding concerning evolution has just been published in the journal Science and reported by ScienceDaily. Here is the link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121025130922.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+News+--+Top+Science%29

Seems some researchers from Princeton University have uncovered some evidence that evolution employs repeated patterns and thus may in principle be predictable. 

An except from the article from ScienceDaily: 

"Princeton University research published in the journal Science suggests that knowledge of a species' genes -- and how certain external conditions affect the proteins encoded by those genes -- could be used to determine a predictable evolutionary pattern driven by outside factors. Scientists could then pinpoint how the diversity of adaptations seen in the natural world developed even in distantly related animals.
"Is evolution predictable? To a surprising extent the answer is yes," said senior researcher Peter Andolfatto, an assistant professor in Princeton's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

If this finding is confirmed, I think it will be something of a huge departure from the currently accepted notion that the randomness that underlies gene variation makes evolution unpredictable.

Randy




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