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Thread: A random factor in evolution

  1. #1 A random factor in evolution 
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    Actually, the question is is there any such factor? I mean, if you fully, and I mean it fully (theoretically speaking, I know it is impossible) replicate the conditions, would evolution always yield the same organisms.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
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    If you could fully replicate the conditons it couldn't be random, since having the exact same conditions presupposes a lack of randomness (if you rig the dice to get the exact same result each time it is no longer random). In fact at the quantum level most physicists believe that you can never fully get rid of the element of chance, and this can effect mutations making it impossible to completely eliminate randomness, and this is not a technological problem, in order to get around it we would have to change the laws of physics.


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  4. #3  
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    Without the same random mutations you wouldn't produce the same species. You could produce convergence which we already see in nature. This is when species in similar niches have similar characteristics (like green vine snakes on different continents being unrelated but visually almost identical in appearance and behavior). Since they randomly got similar mutations those characteristics were favored based on their niche.
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  5. #4  
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    Thank you for answers.
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  6. #5 Re: A random factor in evolution 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sindrato
    Actually, the question is is there any such factor? I mean, if you fully, and I mean it fully (theoretically speaking, I know it is impossible) replicate the conditions, would evolution always yield the same organisms.
    depends on the time scale you are looking at.

    Imagine you take a bacterial population and expose it to a specific environment. They will thrive when they modify a certain gene. This gene is only optimally modified when substituting one aminoacid with another.

    Probability is high when you re-run the experiment that you will get a similar result.

    But not necessarily.

    Take a longer timescale, a more complex environment and the predictions will become more general, indicating less similarities in details. In another word, bordering on unpredictable.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  7. #6  
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    Evolution tends to further develop & refine the path begun, because a well-defined trait is often more effective. Just what started a species down one path or another may be so subtle, we consider it random.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  8. #7  
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    That's exactly what I wanted to know, thank you.
    One more question, how long does it take for a bacterial colony to multiply and evolve, and is it possible to do the experiment at home, with only a light microscope?
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    Bacteria have different multiplication rates, and are affected by things like nutrition availability, temperature, humidity etc. Look up AGAR plates, that is typically how bacteria are cultured and it would be possible to do it in your home, given the right equipment.

    Given your question about how long it would take for them to evolve...well, every generation they evolve. Every time they copy their DNA parts of it mutate, and those mutations could be beneficial, harmful, or neutral. I'm going to be bold and to assume that you are using evolution meaning watching the bacteria develop into a new species of bacteria, or something along those lines. In that case, it would take much much longer, if it ever happened at all. Unless you changed conditions so they were not ideal, the bacteria wouldn't change much if at all. If you have in mind evolution to the point where you can physically see a difference between the two species of bacteria, good luck.
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  10. #9  
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    I had in mind physically changed bacteria, as I simply have no method of observing DNA. And yes, I have thought about slowly changing conditions.
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