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Besides chance mutations sticking around because of their utility towards survival and procreation, could an organism evolve the ability to aid this process by mutating more frequently in beneficial directions in response to the environment (e.g. based on some form of past higher order evolutionary experience)?

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    $\begingroup$ cephalopods have some funky DNA editing mechanic that you should look into $\endgroup$ – 小奥利奥 Mar 31 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ Also look into humans! :) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic_hypermutation $\endgroup$ – KaPy3141 Mar 31 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ You mean environmentally-responsive pre-programmed mutations, based on higher order experience? Like an animal in cold weather will tend to have more hairy babies than an animal in warm weather? AFAIK evolution conforms to higher order architectures which are only slightly tweaked in ways which are probably useful, like symmetrical limb lengths vary a lot more than non symmetrical chance mutations. $\endgroup$ – DeltaEnfieldWaid Mar 31 at 19:05
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IMHO, the whole genome replication/recombination/mutation process and arrangement has evolved to increase the likelihood that changes will be beneficial or at least neutral. In chromosome recombination, for example, new chromosome combinations are constructed from old, tested, gene sequences, while making sure that the new pieces are homologous to corresponding pieces in the parents' and grandparents' chromosomes.

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