: >For example, genes which code for one protein in hemoglobin may : >silently duplicate, and only over much time will that duplication : >develop some functionality.
: This is what I mean by evolution! Suppose our haemoglobin genes : tomorrow also conferred resistance to malaria (by having a few : mutations). Wouldn't you wonder HOW a new function arose from this : duplication (which must've been both haemoglobin initially), and how : long it took just to come up with it?
: >It's pointless to insist on isolating the original duplication event, : >because it was silent.
: No, not the original duplication event, but the length of time (and : how) it takes to come up with the new functionality (which has to : happen BEFORE natural selection).
Ahhh...gotcha. That is indeed an interesting question. I'm not sure what the answer is. I know that many new functions are co-opted from similar functions (I think the classical example is some enzyme beginning with the letter l...but can't remember right now). But that begs the question of where the co-opted behaviors came from.
Similarly, hybridization is a good source of new behavior. But again, you have to have the hybrids to begin with.
Still, evolution is a change in distribution of characters...you are focusing on one particular change: from zero to non-zero distribution. That is interesting, and important.
: >The important point is that mutation without selection is not a : >particularly interesting concept, from an evolutionary perspective.
: We disagree there too, and there's quite a bit of research on this : topic. Basically, the idea is, how long does it take for new function : to evolve, from an existing gene, before naturally selection can : operate on it. How does it evolve? Is it randomly (the current : belief) or is there some directed process going on?
OK. You convinced me. Mutation in isolation is an interesting thing to study.
I have seen the new evidence supporting some Lamarkian mechanism, so your last question does merit some investigation.
Thanks for the discourse. I'm outta here. -- James A. Foster email: email@example.com Laboratory for Applied Logic Dept. of Computer Science University of Idaho www: http://www.cs.uidaho.edu/~foster
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