Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is Human Evolution Over ?

That's what British geneticist asserts. I have heard Steve Jones arguing his point before and although he has an interesting argument here, I am still puzzled by his assertion.
Jones assumption is based on the fact that evolution is driven by unequalities existing in individuals' genes facing the same environment and competing for resources in this environment. And he rightly argues that technology, mostly health technology, is a great equalizer of our unequal biological predispositions. Take eye glasses for example, to cite a simple case, eye glasses allow those who have sight deficits to occupy social positions tied to a certain privilege that they would have not occupied otherwise.

However, Jones overlooks two main factors in evolution:
Evolution by collaboration and cooperation, a case well argued by Lynn Margulis and termed as symbiogenesis;
Evolution by selection of genes which are detrimental in one way but beneficial in another. For example, a gene known to be the cause of a blood disease protects against Malaria. In countries where the Malaria epidemic is high, individuals with this disease have an evolutionary advantage over others who don't have this blood disease.

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