Rapid adaptation (sans mutations theory?)

Science 12 July 2013: Vol. 341 no. 6142 pp. 130-131 DOI: 10.1126/science.1239702

  • Books et al.


Adaptation, Fast and Endless by Jordi Bascompte

Relentless Evolution by John N. Thompson University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2013. 509 pp. $100, £70. ISBN 9780226018614. Paper, $35, £24.50. ISBN 9780226018751.

Excerpt: Drawing on evidence from various approaches and many case studies, Thompson argues that adaptive evolution is pervasive, unflagging, and often surprisingly rapid.

My  Comment to the Science site:

Re: “Thompson felt he was racing to produce a timely account of our current understanding of adaptive evolution.”

I recognize that feeling as one that drove me to publish “Nutrient-dependent / pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model” in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology last month.

Re: Is there still anyone who thinks that evolution always proceeds slowly?”

Last month Masatoshi Nei published “Mutation-driven evolution“.

However, earlier this year, companion papers by Kamberov et al., and Grossman et al., exemplified adaptive evolution in a human population that arose in what is now central China during the past ~30,000 years. A single base change led to an amino acid substitution associated with the thermodynamics of de novo gene creation, phenotypic characteristics, organism-level thermoregulation, and selection for reproductive fitness. If the amino acid substitution is nutrient-dependent and selection for reproductive fitness is pheromone-controlled, the evolutionary time frame has probably shifted to incorporate what’s already known about corresponding changes in climate, diet, culture and disappearance of the Neanderthals in less than the time it would probably take to mutate a new species into existence.

Author: James Kohl

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