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Old 12-18-2006, 08:41 PM   #31
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So do I have it right Mr. Wandererererrereer? Or in the ballpark?
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Old 12-19-2006, 03:55 AM   #32
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Traits involve gene expression of a sequence/sequences of DNA, whether a gene is on or off can be controlled. Within an animal all the way from the earliest stages of development ther areinteractions within a network of different genes that may control things like timing a developmental stage (heterochrony) etc. It's when these processes get disrupted/altered and genes get turned on or off at a different time that we can get significant morphological changes in the absence of significant genetic variation.

An animal is the product of both it's genes and the way that it's development is regulated, it is fair to say that changes in gene frequency within a population are important but it's also good to look other options and test them out.

Basically your right, with the stipulation that current research into genetic novelty is finding that developmental pathways play a bigger part than once thought.

Some questions about evolution that I want to answer.
> Is evolutionary stasis or change the product of a species genes.
> What makes a species conservative to change - does a conservative genome stay the same across different environments.
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Old 12-19-2006, 07:31 AM   #33
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
The niche of the bipedal hominidon the African Savannah? Civilization has only existed for a few thousand years tops and it's only been since then we have only had dramatic effects on the environment for a few tens of thousands of years.
Right but dread asked about recently - this period in which we have been intelligent enough to engineer the environment and potentially (this was his question) to engineer our way around natural selection.
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Old 12-19-2006, 07:37 AM   #34
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I think it's dangerous to make leaps such as "select for artistic ability" because many of these traits can actually decrease fecundity, for instance look at birth rates and intelligence. Im not saying that we will get dysgenics due to poverty creating Morlocks but when we look at 'positive traits' we must consider if they occur with enough frequency to have an effect on the population and if they will be selected for within the population. This is ignoring the genetic and environmental interactions that take place to shape behaviioural characters that effect reproductive success.

I see lactose tollerance as an environmental factor divorced from a social one, society doesn't will a biochemical pathways selection its still due to a material cause for material reasons. The crossover between biology and society exists because society is a direct product of our biology, cognition and communication are evolved characteristics in animals.
When I mentioned selection for other traits, I wasn't talking about fecundity. I was saying that perhaps avoiding natural selection gives us added value - cultural, societal, maybe intellectual - that is not considered by the operation of natural selection. In combination with society developing, period, allowing some people to develop arts and culture while others grow the food, perhaps these "weaker" lines are developing and it is enhancing the human experience (distinct from the survival of the species, though I can't imagine, given that there's plenty of food on the planet, that it is harming the species).

As for the lactose thing, the article I read that I am too lazy to find (last 2 weeks, either NY Times, Washington Post, or Boston Globe) was clear that scientists have classified this evolution as culturally/societally influenced because lactose was not consumed by the people in which the gene developed until quite recently and was only a result of globalization and trade forces. It was interesting on several levels: that it had evolved/been turned on so quickly, that it was human-engineered (though not with intent of course) and not environmentally engineered, and that different genetic methods of lactose tolerance had developped in different populations, but with the same effect.
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Old 12-19-2006, 07:52 AM   #35
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Quote:
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I stack shelves at the local supermarket at night and early morning for 30 odd hours each week.

And by day and evening I am locked away in my room reading journals and books to become the best damn palaeontology honours student in 2008 (part of the reason for working, being able to support myself as a full time student) and get some high qualification in that field. I will just raise the point that for an academic job in that field you have to be up with molecular biology, geology, geochemistry and the latest evolutionary biology - theres just not as many jobs limited to taxonomy. But the opportunities for those that have the skill are there both in research and industry.

I see I´m a biologist but I´m more oriented to water treatment and ecology

Hope everything goes rigth for you
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Old 12-19-2006, 07:57 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by Varitek


When I mentioned selection for other traits, I wasn't talking about fecundity.
But it's all about sex, well at least maximising the ammount of genes that you pass on, differential reproductive success underpins selection both natural and artificial.

My own thoughts on human evolution is that as the world has become so connected gene flow has increased as well as environmental conditions - both of these factors homogenise populations to a greater degree so as a species we will remain, now there is the chance that humanity will change in time naturally I don't think it's happened on the level for a new species or sub species, although race may be an interesting relic of geographic seperations. Genetic engineering will be the driving force of human evolution this millennia and we, or at least the wealthy, will have the means to become post-human.
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Old 12-19-2006, 12:41 PM   #37
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Genetic engineering will be the driving force of human evolution this millennia and we, or at least the wealthy, will have the means to become post-human.
God I hope not.
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Old 12-19-2006, 08:35 PM   #38
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That's a very bioconservative attitude, we could do away with degenerative diseases and improve intelligence and physical abilities.
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Old 12-19-2006, 08:42 PM   #39
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People just like to watch mankind from an "animal" point of view, maybe we will evolve in a different way from animals, perhaps genetic engineering is that way, but we have to look at this very carefully...

Well maybe mankind will destroy it self before we can evolve in any way
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Old 12-19-2006, 08:49 PM   #40
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The only way to guarantee survival is to expand away from Earth, right now were a target for a mass extinction but if we have several different outposts then chances are improved, now in order to survive long term on other planets with lower gravity we will probably need a way of preventing muscles from degenerating too much or augmenting ourselves to suit it better.
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:14 PM   #41
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Read

Beak of the Finch and The Selfish Gene

This will help you in your though process towards NS.
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:18 PM   #42
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What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:37 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr
We might as well go for the bible then

Origin Of The Species

No... not Original Of The Species

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Old 12-19-2006, 11:11 PM   #44
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Assuming that mankind currently has been able to halt evolution and the weeding out of undesirable traits, there's nothing to say that evolution cannot be "restarted" if civilization collapses and humanity is required to fend for itself all over again.

If the "Toba catastrophe theory" is to be believed, we've already done this once before 75,000 years ago, as a supervolcanic eruption 3,000 times larger than Mt. Saint Helens is thought to have severely reduced the global human population to around 1,000 to 10,000 individuals or so. Essentially, we migrated "out of Africa" twice, as a species. There's nothing to say that we can't do it a third time, metaphorically speaking.
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Old 12-19-2006, 11:13 PM   #45
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I should also mention that this entire discussion reminds me of the environment that created "eugenics" in the late 19th century.
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