Re: Evolution being slow ...

From: James Tauber (
Date: Fri Apr 20 2001 - 15:36:55 PDT

One thing that has always fascinated me is the number of genotypic mutations
that need to take place for the phenotype to have a beneficial change. It's
not as if a single change to the DNA has an immediate benefit. You really
need somehow to built change-upon-change, each of which has no individual
benefit, but the whole sequence of changes leads to a benefit. Survival of
the fittest can't kick in until the benefit does and so a partial sequence
of changes leading to a benefit would be have no greater chance that one
that doesn't lead to a benefit.


> Three decades ago, Frank Salisbury of Utah State University described the
> odds this way: "Imagine one hundred million trillion planets, each with an
> ocean with lots of DNA fragments that reproduce one million times per
> second, with a mutation occurring each time. In four billion years, it
> still take trillions of universes to produce a single gene -- if they got
> lucky."

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