Re: Evolution being slow ...

From: Gordon Mohr (
Date: Sat Apr 21 2001 - 01:12:43 PDT

This conversation reminds me of a bunch of things:

 (1) Since the genome has fewer genes than first thought, genes
 likely work together in ways more complicated than expected,
 or are joined in their operation by underestimated external
 influences. One take on the subject, which is really too

    "A Map to Nowhere"

 (2) David Brin's short story, "The Giving Plague", which
 suggests that beneficial behaviors and traits may be
 communicated by germ agents; we just haven't been moved
 to rigorously look.

 (3) The case advanced by various researchers that ailments
 long considered environmental or hereditary may be actually
 be caused by contagions. See:
    "A New Germ Theory"

& "Pet Theory: Do Cats Cause Schizophrenia?"
 (4) Greg Bear's sci-fi novel, 'Darwin's Radio', which
 suggests viruses carry hereditable traits between individuals,
 even to the point of helping choose traits from a giant
 species-wide codebook of stored-up, dormant adaptations.

Altogether, I wouldn't be surprised if researchers soon find
that things like viruses and other factors exogenous to the
traditional "genome" play a major role in shaping the change
of organisms across generations.

- Gordon

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