4.d) Evolutionism and mechanisms of genetic variability

After accepting evolutionism, it is necessary to clarify some similar terms that sometimes have specific connotations. We are referring to concepts of procedure, methods, processes, and mechanisms of evolution used, at least, generally by current science within evolutionism or the generally accepted stance regarding the theory of evolution.

Some terms are very similar and almost synonyms but, frequently, we used them with specific characteristics while talking about evolutionary genetics. We are thinking about human genes and human gene expression, but we believe the ideas are valid for, at least, any evolution of life with sexual differentiation.

These concepts represent functional relations between macro and microbiology and between genotype and their genetic expression or phenotype.

An important note is that not always all the methods or mechanisms of genetic variability are possible.

4.d.1. The concept of procedures, methods, processes, and mechanisms

  • Procedures and methods of evolutionary genetics

    These two concepts are almost the same regarding genetic variability; the first one could include various methods. For example, sexual differentiation, verification of the genetic information, natural selection characterizes as procedures, methods and even as a mechanism in evolutionary genetics.

    Commonly, procedures and methods relate to ideas or immaterial concepts.

  • Process

    We consider them as a set of activities with a shared goal.

  • Mechanism of genetic variations

    A mechanism of genetic alterations would be a singular activity that has an immediate finality or purpose.

A basic outline could be as follows: A procedure that includes one or various methods, consisting of a group of activities or processes formed by an undetermined number of related mechanisms, generally in a sequential way.

Likewise, nothing prevents various independent or conceptually different procedures or processes from acting simultaneously in the dynamic of evolutionism. In fact, we know a mechanism of evolution, which works a posteriori in many cases, so-called Natural Selection, collaborating with the other procedures and evolutionary methods.



4.d.2. Glossary on genetic variability

The evolutionary mechanisms explain evolutionism according to the scientific method. Natural selection is not the only evolutionary method.

James D. Watson (Public domain image)
James d. Watson

Among the most relevant evolutionary mechanisms are the following:

  • Procedures and methods in evolutionary genetics

    • Trial and error

      The most straightforward evolutionary process is typical of microorganisms which have lots of descendants in each generation and relies on the following application of natural selection.

    • Natural selection

      Strictly and exclusively speaking, it would act as a single, effective evolutionary method, and random modifications alone would not achieve the evolution seen in living beings. In the case of accepting the arbitrary character of the changes, the previous method of trial and error would be more general than natural selection, since this does not always operate.

      It does not seem to have much relevance in the evolution of human beings, except in the very long, rather than long, term. Nor is it guaranteed that it would act in the future unless we take it tautologically.

      In any case, natural selection is an exogenous verification method to the system producing the genetic modifications, because it works a posteriori.

    • Exhaustive check of gene expression

      Verification of the results foreseen by the genetic modifications which have been carried out. In some instances, living organisms can verify the effect of replacing, for example, one protein with another. If this verification is satisfactory regarding the functionality of the new mechanism and there is no risk of side effects, the deletion of the genetic information generated by the first protein could occur without problems since it would not affect the assurance objective.

    • Partial check of the modifications.

      When an evolutionary system gets complicated and contains innumerous interrelations, an exhaustive verification of the effects caused by a small change will not be possible, it must be strictly limited to a more or less extensive review but never a complete confirmation. The genetic modification will carry a lesser risk the bigger the covered range of possible effects. Informatic programmers know these type of threats.

    • Primary sexual differentiation or endogenic sexual differentiation

      Due to the development of more complex beings, the risk of the partial verification method increases and will not guarantee the viability of offspring.


      Scientific progress and society
      A lot to learn

      The living systems depend on the management and processing of enormous quantities of genetic information.

      El País 26-11-1992. Eric H. Davidson

      The search for new methods to explain the evolutionism satisfactorily is required. One possible approach could be sexual differentiation, in such a way that one of the sexes could spend all its energy in developing and verifying new functions. It could be the case of the evolution of bees since there is a sexual differentiation but an endogamy pairing. Although the justification of this evolutionary method is very intuitive, we should consider the need of every human being to sleep every day to rearrange his memory and keep his body rested.

      It is more probable about keeping an intact copy while the other one has genetic modifications.

    • Sexual differentiation

      The main advantages of this evolutionary method have been described in detail in the point about the objectives of evolution.

    • External verification of the genetic information or its functionality (VGI)

      We explained this evolutionary method while talking about dominant and recessive genes in the example relating to the “Significance and expression of genetic variations: the example of the technological development of brakes in the automobile industry.

    • Security copy or archive of genetic information

      The genetic code before the genetic modification can be kept, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the real result of the genetic variations, to have the possibility of returning to the initial configuration of the genetic information. Another advantage of keeping the old genetic code is the possibility of using it to different modifications, what would be equivalent to having a program or function library.

    • ...




      Synthetic life is here

      Chromosomes are the packets in which the genome of higher organisms, or eukaryotes, is distributed. They are much more than a piece of DNA: they are packaged in complex architectures formed by hundreds of proteins that interact with the genetic material.

      El País 28-03-2014

  • Processes
    • Creation and design of genetic modifications –genetic research at the cell level
    • Initial development of the new living being
    • The growth of the living being
    • Choice of the partner or sexual selection
    • Execution of pre-established structures –epigenetics

      The results of some actions performed by living beings can vary depending on the conditions. It will also be discussed in some detail later. A typical example could be the decision-making progress in the logical processes of the brain.

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  • Mechanisms of genetic variations
    • Operational conditions of the genetic information
    • Creation of random operations
    • A particular activity of the decision-making process
    • Feedback

      It would always be possible to associate a genetic modification with its age or effectiveness during some generations.

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