Friday, August 11, 2006

 

[evomech] New theory of environmental inheritance ('05 Press Release)

New research has provided evidence for 'environmental inheritance', a radical theory of transgenerational genetic adaptation proposed by Professor Marcus Pembrey of the Institute of Child Health, UCL in the mid 1990's

The latest evidence challenges accepted thinking on genetic inheritance, suggesting that historic events can contribute to some common modern illnesses.

The research, published by the Children of the 90s study based at the University of Bristol in collaboration with Umea University, Sweden, could have far-reaching implications for our understanding of modern health epidemics - such as obesity or cardiovascular disease.

Conventionally scientists believe that how we develop as adults depends on two factors - the genes (DNA) we inherit from our parents, and the environmental influences, such as diet, lifestyle, exposure to pollution from conception onwards.

Professor Marcus Pembrey, who is also head of Genetics at Children of the 90s, says that over the long term, the process of Darwinian evolution by random errors in DNA followed by natural selection ensures that the human race adapts to changes in our environment. But it takes very many generations.

Now there is evidence for another mechanism which no-one had considered... some of the father's own experiences in his childhood are captured in some way by his sperm, so affecting the genes that he bequeaths to his descendants.

Also see:

'Cardiovascular and diabetes mortality determined by nutrition'

John Latter / Jorolat

Model of an Internal Evolutionary Mechanism (based on an extension to homeostasis) linking Adaptive Mutations to the Baldwin Effect:
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Evolution Research Blog:
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Thursday, July 27, 2006

 

[evomech] UF scientists discover evolutionary origin of fins, limbs

Gainesville, Florida: - Performance on the dance floor may notalways show it, but people are rarely born with two left feet. We havegenes that instruct our arms and legs to grow in the right places andpoint in the right directions. They also provide for the spaces betweenour fingers and toes and every other formative detail of our limbs.

Evolutionarilyspeaking, the genetic instructions used to construct and position ourlimbs were being perfected more than half a billion years ago infishes, not along the sides of the body where the fins that precededhuman arms and legs sprouted, but at the midline that runs along thebackbone and belly.

This midline - think of the dorsal, tail andanal fins of a fish - is where the genetic template to produce finsoriginated, about 100 million years before paired fins evolved andabout 200 million years before paired fins evolved into limbs,according to University of Florida genetics researchers. The findings,published online today in the journal Nature, also provide insight intothe evolutionary history of genes involved in human birth defects.[evolution, origin]

[The Nature paper is currently available here but the link won't work for long because it's an advance publication - email if you have any problems.]

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John Latter / Jorolat

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

 

[evomech] [Update] Re: The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm


--- In evomech@yahoogroups.com, "John Latter" <jorolat@...> wrote:
>
>
> --- In evomech@yahoogroups.com, "jorolat" jorolat@a... wrote:
> >
> > [Gould & Lewontin, Royal Society of London, '78]
> >
> > Abstract:
> >
> > "An adaptationist programme has dominated evolutionary thought in
> > england and the United States during the past forty years. It is
> > based on faith in the power of natural selection as an optimizing
> > agent. It proceeds by breaking an organism into unitary "traits" and
> > proposing an adaptive story for each considered separately. Trade-
> > offs among competing selective demands exert the only brake upon
> > perfection; nonoptimality is thereby rendered as a result of
> > adaptation as well. We criticize this approach and attempt to
> > reassert a competing notion (long popular in continental Europe) that
> > organisms must be analyzed as integrated wholes, with baupläne so
> > constrained by phyletic heritage, pathways of development, and
> > general architecture that the constraints themselves become more
> > interesting and more important in delimiting pathways of change than
> > the selective force that may mediate change when it occurs. We fault
> > the adaptationist programme for its failure to distinguish current
> > utility from reasons for origin (male tyrannosaurs may have used
> > their diminutive front legs to titillate female partners, but this
> > will not explain why they got so small); for its unwillingness to
> > consider alternatives to adaptive stories; for its reliance upon
> > plausibility alone as a criterion for accepting speculative tales;
> > and for its failure to consider adequately such competing themes as
> > random fixation of alleles, production of nonadaptive structures by
> > developmental correlation with selected features (allometry,
> > pleiotropy, material compensation, mechanically forced correlation),
> > the separability of adaptation and selection, multiple adaptive
> > peaks, and current utility as an epiphenomenon of nonadaptive
> > structures. We support Darwin's own pluralistic approach to
> > identifying the agents of evolutionary change."
> >
> > Full text at:
> >
> > http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/evolution/science/spandrel.htm
> >
> > [Bookmarked]
> >
> > Jorolat
>
> Now available at:
>
> http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/evolution/history/spandrel.shtml
>
> John
> -- Model of an Internal Evolutionary Mechanism (based on an extension to homeostasis) linking Adaptive Mutations to the Baldwin Effect:
> http://members.aol.com/jorolat/index.html Evolution: Where Darwin meets Lamarck? Discussion Forum:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/evomech/
>

Now available at:

http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/03_Areas/evolution/perspectives/Gould_Lewontin_1979.shtml

Wish they would stop moving it! :)

John Latter / Jorolat

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

 

[evomech] Re: Origin of Instincts


--- In evomech@yahoogroups.com, "alexbertoglio" <alexbertoglio@...> wrote:
>
> I have searched the internet, talkorigins, Baldwinian explanations,
> and the post archive here and been unable to find a good explanation
> of how instincts (not reflexes) originate.
>
> My dad is reading the book "Improbable" by Adam Fawer, and apparently
> it makes a case for a "shared consciousness" to explain instincts that
> are not coded for in DNA. I have tried to explain the Baldwinian
> effect to him but I cannot explain how exactly the DNA itself passes
> instincts.
>
> According to the book, Biologists have been unable to explain how
> babies have the instinct (or skills) to walk, without ever seeing
> walking in action.
>
> I plan on reading "Improbable" to find out exactly what it says, but
> can anyone explain how instincts are formed?
>
> And can anyone explain why the concept of "shared consciousness" is
> used in this regard? I havn't read the book yet, but apparently the
> point is that some things that don't pass by DNA are instead contained
> in everyone, in some meta-physical sense. I don't buy it, but maybe
> someone with more education in meta-physics can explain it better.
>

Hi Alex,

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I could give you anexplanation in terms of conventional theory but I doubt one exists.

Personally, I'm interested in the possibility of an homeostaicinternal evolutionary mechanism. The phenomena of instinct issupportive of this proposal but a coherent explanation from thisperspective is a bit further down the line at the moment.

I'm slightly intrigued by what 'shared conciousness' may mean althoughI'm not particularly interested in anything that can't be tested.

John Latter / Jorolat

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

 

[evomech] Origin of Instincts

I have searched the internet, talkorigins, Baldwinian explanations,
and the post archive here and been unable to find a good explanation
of how instincts (not reflexes) originate.

My dad is reading the book "Improbable" by Adam Fawer, and apparently
it makes a case for a "shared consciousness" to explain instincts that
are not coded for in DNA. I have tried to explain the Baldwinian
effect to him but I cannot explain how exactly the DNA itself passes
instincts.

According to the book, Biologists have been unable to explain how
babies have the instinct (or skills) to walk, without ever seeing
walking in action.

I plan on reading "Improbable" to find out exactly what it says, but
can anyone explain how instincts are formed?

And can anyone explain why the concept of "shared consciousness" is
used in this regard? I havn't read the book yet, but apparently the
point is that some things that don't pass by DNA are instead contained
in everyone, in some meta-physical sense. I don't buy it, but maybe
someone with more education in meta-physics can explain it better.

Please Note: If you are reading this in a Blog then replying directly to this message (as opposed to making a 'blog comment') requires membership of the 'Evolution: Where Darwin meets Lamarck?' Egroup at:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/evomech/

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Monday, March 20, 2006

 

[evomech] Self-Organization, Emergence and the Architecture of Complexity

Heylighen F. (1989): "Self-Organization, Emergence and the Architecture of Complexity", in:
Proceedings of the 1st European Conference on System Science, (AFCET, Paris), p. 23-32.

Abstract:

It is argued that the problems of emergence and the architecture of complexity can be solved by analysing the self-organizing evolution of complex systems. A generalized, distributed variation selection model is proposed, in which internal and external aspects of selection and variation are contrasted. "Relational closure" is introduced as an internal selection criterion. A possible application of the theory in the form of a pattern directed computer system for supporting complex problem-solving is sketched.

Full text at:

http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Papers/SelfArchCom.pdf

John Latter

Evolution: Research Blog | Website | Blog Mad | Webring

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Re: [evomech] Re: Darwin on trial (online book)

On 19/03/2006 johnhewitt22 wrote:
> Dear All,
>
> I have never seen this book, by Phillip E. Johnson, but I have to say
> that, at a cursory reading, it seems rather good.
>
> Perhaps we could have an update on the author. Who is he? What is the
> backgound of the e-book?
>
> Sincerely
>
> John Hewitt


Hi John,

The last I heard of Johnson he was an IDist law professor at Berkeley. Here are a couple of links:

"Welcome. This page presents Professor Johnson's works, primarily
in the area of origins. On this page, you will also find his
speaking schedule."
http://www.origins.org/pjohnson/pjohnson.html

"Articles by Phillip Johnson"
http://www.arn.org/authors/johnson_articles.html

I first came across Johnson in my search for more information about Grasse:

"
MY STARTING POINT is a book review that Theodosius Dobzhansky published in 1975, critiquing Pierre Grasse's The Evolution of Life.{1} Grasse, an eminent French zoologist, believed in something that he called "evolution." So did Dobzhansky, but when Dobzhansky used that term he meant neo-Darwinism, evolution propelled by random mutation and guided by natural selection. Grasse used the same term to refer to something very different, a poorly understood process of transformation in which one general category (like reptiles) gave rise to another (like mammals), guided by mysterious "internal factors" that seemed to compel many individual lines of descent to converge at a new form of life."

From "Darwin's Rules of Reasoning" at:
http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/fte/darwinism/chapter1.html

Hope this helps!

John Latter
-- 
Evolution: Research Blog | Website | Blog Mad | Webring

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

 

[evomech] Re: Darwin on trial (online book)

Dear All,

I have never seen this book, by Phillip E. Johnson, but I have to say
that, at a cursory reading, it seems rather good.

Perhaps we could have an update on the author. Who is he? What is the
backgound of the e-book?

Sincerely

John Hewitt

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[evomech] Regulating General Mutation Rates: Examination of the Hypermutable State Model for Cairnsian Adaptive Mutation

Genetics, Vol. 163, 1483-1496, April 2003, Copyright 2003
Regulating General Mutation Rates: Examination of the Hypermutable State Model for Cairnsian Adaptive Mutation
John R. Rotha, Eric Kofoid, Frederick P. Roth, Otto G. Bergc, Jon Segera, and Dan I. Andersson

Abstract:

In the lac adaptive mutation system of Cairns, selected mutant colonies but not unselected mutant types appear to arise from a nongrowing population of Escherichia coli. The general mutagenesis suffered by the selected mutants has been interpreted as support for the idea that E. coli possesses an evolved (and therefore beneficial) mechanism that increases the mutation rate in response to stress (the hypermutable state model, HSM). This mechanism is proposed to allow faster genetic adaptation to stressful conditions and to explain why mutations appear directed to useful sites. Analysis of the HSM reveals that it requires implausibly intense mutagenesis (105 times the unselected rate) and even then cannot account for the behavior of the Cairns system. The assumptions of the HSM predict that selected revertants will carry an average of eight deleterious null mutations and thus seem unlikely to be successful in long-term evolution. The experimentally observed 35-fold increase in the level of general mutagenesis cannot account for even one Lac+ revertant from a mutagenized subpopulation of 105 cells (the number proposed to enter the hypermutable state). We conclude that temporary general mutagenesis during stress is unlikely to provide a long-term selective advantage in this or any similar genetic system.

Full text at:

http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/163/4/1483

John Latter

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