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Thread: How is DNA complexity added to during evolution?

  1. #1 How is DNA complexity added to during evolution? 
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    Hello, I have wondered about this for a little bit now: What are the mechanisms through which new genetic material (in the sense that complexity is increased) added during evolution?
    For example we know that through evolution we started out as very basic forms of life, bacteria even. Bacteria do not have as much genetic material as say a Blue Whale, or a Human. It stands to reason then that there must be a way in which this complexity is added over time in such a way that it can take us from thousands of base pairs, to millions and beyond.

    Please try to answer your question as if you were responding to a layman (as I'm only 10), and I'd also appreciate any resources and citation that you might be able to provide. Thanks!


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    Complexity of an organism is not dependent upon the number of genes. Humans have approx 20,500 genes while rice has around 37,544. However, the sort of mutations that can occur, is base pair substitution, or base pair insertion of deletion. Codons (3 base letters) code for production of amino amino acids, and a small change to the arrangement of amino acids can drastically alter the shape of the protein that is produced and hence its function. In the case of base pair substitution, at most you'd only have a change to one amino acid, as there are 64 combinations and only 20 amino, so amino acids have more than one possible codon. With an insertion or deletion of a base however, it shifts the entire read frame, so you can have a lot of change in the amino acids that are coded for, and hence vastly different protein synthesised. I got most of this information from my lecture slides so I unfortunately can't cite them or refer you to them.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Complexity of an organism is not dependent upon the number of genes. Humans have approx 20,500 genes while rice has around 37,544. However, the sort of mutations that can occur, is base pair substitution, or base pair insertion of deletion. Codons (3 base letters) code for production of amino amino acids, and a small change to the arrangement of amino acids can drastically alter the shape of the protein that is produced and hence its function. In the case of base pair substitution, at most you'd only have a change to one amino acid, as there are 64 combinations and only 20 amino, so amino acids have more than one possible codon. With an insertion or deletion of a base however, it shifts the entire read frame, so you can have a lot of change in the amino acids that are coded for, and hence vastly different protein synthesised. I got most of this information from my lecture slides so I unfortunately can't cite them or refer you to them.
    What he said.
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    If this interests you, you should defiantly look into Evolutionary Genetics (Molecular Evolution) or Creation Science.
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    I found this documentary very well researched "DNA, Genetics, and Evolution : Documentary on the Living Science of Evolution (Full Documentary)" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06bUgIztk2w If you played that through a couple of times you would make a ton of progress.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobra2 View Post
    Hello, I have wondered about this for a little bit now: What are the mechanisms through which new genetic material (in the sense that complexity is increased) added during evolution?
    For example we know that through evolution we started out as very basic forms of life, bacteria even. Bacteria do not have as much genetic material as say a Blue Whale, or a Human. It stands to reason then that there must be a way in which this complexity is added over time in such a way that it can take us from thousands of base pairs, to millions and beyond.

    Please try to answer your question as if you were responding to a layman (as I'm only 10), and I'd also appreciate any resources and citation that you might be able to provide. Thanks!
    The simplest way to answer this, is that there is no mechanism for evolution. There is no mechanism for adding information in a genome.

    There however are mistakes. And these mistakes shape the genome. DNA may get added by fusing cells, multiplication of certain regions, insertion of nucleotides etc. But also the removal of nucleotides, losing certain regions, and incorrect multiplication of cells. The change that is most advantageous will have the most copies, and thus continue.

    Think about this (as a 10 year old). You have 10 marbles. I make 2 random stacks, and you may pick one of them. This stack gets multiplied by two, and i make 2 new random stacks. The goal of this is, to get as much marbles as you can in 10 cycles. Say the number of marbles is equivalent to the evolutionary development, then you pick the one with the most marbles. 10 = 4 + 6, pick 6, = 12 = 5 + 7, pick 7, = 14 = 7 + 7, pick 7, = 14 = 3 + 11, pick 11, = 22. You understand this could become thousands.

    However, the number of base-pairs or genes, don't mean more successful. There is something called energetically beneficial. Which means that to many genes, will cost too much energy.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndresKiani View Post
    If this interests you, you should defiantly look into Evolutionary Genetics (Molecular Evolution) or Creation Science.
    Hold on there! Creation Science - you definitely do not want to be looking at that, unless it is to see how corrupt thinking produces meaningless results. What are you thinking of? Have you mixed up your terms?
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    There's a simple way of increasing the amount of genetic information an organism has. Gene duplication. It can happen in several ways. When a cell divides, it has to duplicate all its genetic material and then split it up between its two descendants. It may accidentally make extra copies of some of it along the way or else misdistribute its copies. Another way is copying by retrotransposons ("jumping genes").
    Gene duplication - Wikipedia
    Evolution by gene duplication - Wikipedia

    This can result in large numbers of recognizably-related genes, and several families of them have been identified:
    Gene family - Wikipedia, Protein family - Wikipedia, List of gene families - Wikipedia

    When a gene gets duplicated, each copy will get separate mutations. As they become different, they can end up selected in different directions, thus giving additional functionality. One can easily find examples of this increased variety of function in various gene families.
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    The simple answer is that various types of mistakes happen in the process of making copies of the genes. Those that improve the chances of the life form reproducing itself are what is then, in hind sight, called positive mutations. Those mistakes that make it more difficult for the organism to reproduce are negative mutations. Those that do not make any difference are neutral. All of these are increased information.
    An example of how this works: About 800 years ago a mutation occured in the genetic material of a Viking child, the mutation was neutral for him but in the 800 years since his birth, his decendents are now about a third of the population of Europe. It turns out that the mutation makes his decendents resistent to the AIDS virus. The mutation is now a very positive one indeed. If no vaccine for AIDS is found, then his mutation will become so wide spread that it will be considered normal. Why will it spread? Because those who do not have it will die. That mutation will have become part of what is considered the normal human genetic information. That means that information will have been added to the discription of what "human " means.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    The simple answer is that various types of mistakes happen in the process of making copies of the genes. Those that improve the chances of the life form reproducing itself are what is then, in hind sight, called positive mutations. Those mistakes that make it more difficult for the organism to reproduce are negative mutations. Those that do not make any difference are neutral. All of these are increased information.
    An example of how this works: About 800 years ago a mutation occured in the genetic material of a Viking child, the mutation was neutral for him but in the 800 years since his birth, his decendents are now about a third of the population of Europe. It turns out that the mutation makes his decendents resistent to the AIDS virus. The mutation is now a very positive one indeed. If no vaccine for AIDS is found, then his mutation will become so wide spread that it will be considered normal. Why will it spread? Because those who do not have it will die. That mutation will have become part of what is considered the normal human genetic information. That means that information will have been added to the discription of what "human " means.
    I would reject this concept. Most of the genetics, all of that which still works, has been preserved -- enzyme and protein wise at least.

    Evolution has not been witnessed in the laboratory or in nature. The DNA appears to be moved. This would suggest that there is a mechanism to move the encodings. Encodings may be grouped in some way. To access an encoding the coding would need to be locatable and/or identifiable. The DNA mechanisms which I am aware of would indicate there is a high probability there is an identification requirement.

    Animals begin life as fetuses. All fetuses are very similar. The natural course of development is not changed greatly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    ....
    Evolution has not been witnessed in the laboratory or in nature. ....
    That is not true.
    You could delve into this report if you want to.
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/...l#.VByXJfmSx8E
    Last edited by Robittybob1; September 19th, 2014 at 03:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vampares View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    The simple answer is that various types of mistakes happen in the process of making copies of the genes. Those that improve the chances of the life form reproducing itself are what is then, in hind sight, called positive mutations. Those mistakes that make it more difficult for the organism to reproduce are negative mutations. Those that do not make any difference are neutral. All of these are increased information.
    An example of how this works: About 800 years ago a mutation occured in the genetic material of a Viking child, the mutation was neutral for him but in the 800 years since his birth, his decendents are now about a third of the population of Europe. It turns out that the mutation makes his decendents resistent to the AIDS virus. The mutation is now a very positive one indeed. If no vaccine for AIDS is found, then his mutation will become so wide spread that it will be considered normal. Why will it spread? Because those who do not have it will die. That mutation will have become part of what is considered the normal human genetic information. That means that information will have been added to the discription of what "human " means.
    I would reject this concept. Most of the genetics, all of that which still works, has been preserved -- enzyme and protein wise at least.

    Evolution has not been witnessed in the laboratory or in nature. The DNA appears to be moved. This would suggest that there is a mechanism to move the encodings. Encodings may be grouped in some way. To access an encoding the coding would need to be locatable and/or identifiable. The DNA mechanisms which I am aware of would indicate there is a high probability there is an identification requirement.

    Animals begin life as fetuses. All fetuses are very similar. The natural course of development is not changed greatly.
    As Robity has already noted, evolution has been observed both withing nature and in controlled lab settings.
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