The Frailty of the Darwinian Hypothesis, Part 2

In the previous post I described the debate among evolutionary biologists over the so-called adaptive hypothesis. Some biologists believe that natural selection has the power to drive evolution in adaptive directions, and that most changes that we observe in organisms are there because they confer some adaptive benefit. Other biologists believe that most of the changes we see in organisms over time are due to neutral, non-adaptive processes. You don’t need to take my word for the existence of this debate. Michael Lynch, an eminent evolutionary biologist, lays out the case against the power of natural selection in a paper called “The Frailty of the Adaptive Hypothesis,” 1 published a few years ago for an evolutionary symposium. In it he Read More ›

The Frailty of the Darwinian Hypothesis, Part 1

Editor’s Note: Ann Gauger is a senior research scientist at Biologic Institute. Her work uses molecular genetics and genomic engineering to study the origin, organization and operation of metabolic pathways. She received a BS in biology from MIT, and a PhD in developmental biology from the University of Washington, where she studied cell adhesion molecules involved in Drosophila embryogenesis. As a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard, she cloned and characterized the Drosophila kinesin light chain. Her research has been published in Nature, Development, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Her awards include a National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship and an American Cancer Society post-doctoral fellowship. A long-standing controversy exists among evolutionary biologists that Read More ›