Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Before the decimal points....   posted by Razib @ 10/25/2005 06:02:00 PM

From The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change:

For many years population genetics was an immensely rich and powerful theory with virtually no suitable facts on which to operate. It was like a complex and exquisite machine, designed to process a raw material that one had succeeded in mining. Occasionally some unusually clever or lucky prospecter would come upon a natural outcrop of high-grade ore, and part of the machinery would be started up to prove to its backers that it really would work. But for the most part the machine was left to the engineers, forever tinkering, forever making improvements, in anticipation of the day when it would be called upon to carry out full production....

Some have said than in the first 5 years of the allozyme assay era more data on the the genetic structure of populations was accumulated than had been in the previous 100 years of pre-molecular experiments and observations. Anyway, evolutionary genetics is still a work in progress, and I don't have much time to comment right now, but I thought I'd point you to this paper in PLOS Genetics, The Evolutionary Value of Recombination Is Constrained by Genome Modularity. Since biology is the science of exception riddled generalizations, take the paper with a grain of salt. What is applicable on the microorganismic level might not be applicable on the multicelluar scale (i.e., selfing and asexuality are long term fitness optimizing for example). Additionally, I also suggest you check out the most recent issue of issue of Journal of Evolutionary Biology, it is all about adaptive dynamics.

Related: Through the Rugged Roads of Gene Land.