Pending GCC-3.1 upgrade - do or don't

Spencer Collyer spencer at
Wed May 8 08:08:04 PDT 2002

On Wed, 8 May 2002 10:19:08 +0100, Ian Molton wrote:
> Oh, by the way, your analogy below is flawed. its NOT the method of
> reproduction that causes evolution. evolution occurs when a random
> change in the snails DNA gives it an advantage, and that can happen in
> the asexual snails just as easily.
> > <weird analogy, very OT>
> > 
> > some snails produce asexually. this way, they
> > keep the genes they have, the ones they already
> > know 'work'. this is the safe route.
> > 
> > some other snails produce sexually. this way,
> > they evolve, giving them more 'features' (*grin*)
> > and {snail,bug} fixes. while this isn't a safe
> > approach, and is really quite nasty honestly, it
> > gives their species a better chance at survival.
> > 
> > i forgot what this had to with anything ...
> > 
> > </weird analogy, very OT>

Nope, sorry, have to correct you on this one. There have been a number of
studies using artificial systems (because they are a _lot_ easier to
study) where it's been demonstrated that the majority of the improvement
in evolutionary systems is caused by cross-over effects (as you get with
sexual reproduction, not asexual), and that mutation has a _very_ minor
effect in improvement. There have even been experiments run where there
was _no_ mutation allowed at all, and the population fitness increased as
quickly as when mutation effects were allowed.

DNA is actually phenomenally resistant to mutation outside of truly
extreme environmental conditions.

I could go on about this, but all of my books related to this stuff are
packed away at the moment, and I'm already WAY OT, so best to stop here I
think :)


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