43 votes
Accepted

How many times has SARS-CoV-2 mutated?

This question makes a number of incorrect assumptions and I don't have time to correct them. The short answer is that the virus has mutated probably hundreds of times since it entered humans in late ...
iayork's user avatar
  • 14.2k
11 votes

Why is ATP the preferred choice for energy carriers?

I don’t like this sort of question because I don’t think it can really be answered and I’m very suspicious of arguments that seem to claim ATP is the only or even the best solution to the problem. ...
David's user avatar
  • 25.7k
9 votes

Defining "species" (Are species an emergent property or an ensemble of quantitative differences?)

Can we give a robust definition of species? No. Species constantly evolve, diverge, converge, interbreed, and mix and shuffle and trade and spread genes. To draw a box at any particular point in ...
S Pr's user avatar
  • 6,222
7 votes
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Approaches towards a theory of innovation in evolution

The flaw in his argument, from what I can see in your quotes, is to equate evolution to natural selection. Natural selection was never proposed to explain all evolution, nor how advantageous traits ...
rg255's user avatar
  • 16.1k
7 votes
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Does the Miller-Urey experiment explain the origin of life?

This is a common question. I think the experiment and its conclusions are often misunderstood. Originally, the null hypothesis was that the ingredients for life could not have come about spontaneously,...
S Pr's user avatar
  • 6,222
6 votes
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Can estimating the likelihood of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds show life is too complex for evolutionary timescales?

I think your acquaintance is trying to fit real science to some of his personal beliefs (that are obviously wrong). If you read the article you'll see that it's not about evolution at all, but about ...
VonBeche's user avatar
  • 1,473
6 votes

Text Book Recommendation: Organic Evolution

Organic Evolution - Definition 'Organic evolution' was a common term. It is just rarely used today. Today, we just say 'evolution' or 'evolutionary biology' when referring to the field of study of '...
Remi.b's user avatar
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6 votes
Accepted

Is evolution a means to an end?

Good question--I think the first point to address is "a means to an end" seems to imply willful action. That is, evolution (according to Ridley) would be a conscious effort by a species to optimize ...
tender_bender's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

What is neutral theory of evolution?

A short answer (converted from a comment): I would call neutral theory a useful null model: in particular, it may be less important that it be a factually correct description of natural systems (i.e. &...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
  • 5,354
6 votes

Why is DNA replication so much faster in prokaryotes than eukaryotes?

The difference in DNA replication rate between prokaryotes and eukaryotes is still under current research, but the basics are understood. It is very much a matter of complexity, as eukaryotes are more ...
pascal's user avatar
  • 604
6 votes
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can a cell evolve into a different species in the lab?

First it is worth noting individuals don't evolve, populations evolve. We can observe cells giving rise to different cells, the long term E.coli experiment is a famous and ongoing example, not only ...
John's user avatar
  • 14.7k
6 votes

Why isn't speciation a negative feedback loop?

I'd suggest looking at this article, which contains an intuitive model for how hybrid incompatibilities can arise between isolated sister taxa (i.e. populations). This criterion of pre-existing ...
Maximilian Press's user avatar
5 votes

Why is ATP the preferred choice for energy carriers?

Preface I have already provided an answer to this question, addressing one aspect of it: why a nucleotide triphosphate — rather than any other molecule — was the choice for an energy carrier. In that ...
David's user avatar
  • 25.7k
5 votes
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How did mitochondria make energy long ago?

You are asking a very interesting question. As you correctly mention, the substrates of mitochondrial metabolism (TCA or Krebs Cycle) are pyruvate and NADH, and, through oxidative reactions, ATP is ...
rlluc's user avatar
  • 134
5 votes
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Is there selection against long proteins and long genes?

Is there evidence of selection against long proteins and long genes? I am not aware of any such evidence and cursory googling did not reveal studies that researched a correlation between gene ...
Thawn's user avatar
  • 1,239
5 votes

Why do (almost) all energy carriers contain adenine?

As @canadianer comments, this question is unanswerable, and it verges on being classified as ‘opinion-based’. However, because I do not find the answer from the OP appealing, I’ve set out a few points ...
David's user avatar
  • 25.7k
5 votes

What are some examples of non-homologous sequences having similar functions?

Serine Protease Catalytic Triad This is classic example of convergent evolution in catalytic mechanisms. Shown below are chymotrypsin (4CHA, green) and subtilisin (1ST2, blue) aligned on their ...
canadianer's user avatar
  • 17.7k
5 votes
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Why is the GULO pseudo gene expressed in humans?

I suggest thinking about this from a different direction — something like: "What selection pressure is there for loss of expression of the GULO pseudogene?" When thinking about that question note ...
tyersome's user avatar
  • 5,598
5 votes

What is neutral theory of evolution?

Your question would deserve a long essay. R.C. Lewontin wrote a book ("The genetic basis of evolutionary change" - Columbia U.P) on this subject in 1974, right after the neutral theory had ...
Silvano's user avatar
  • 136
5 votes

Population Genetics Using WGS: How do I know when I have enough individuals?

I think that many of the applications that you mention require wildly different numbers of individuals. It would help to know more about goals, questions, organism details, etc. For example, for ...
Maximilian Press's user avatar
4 votes

How did the genetic code evolve?

It seems that duplicate codons make translation more robust and resistant to translational misreading. There are four theories that explain existence of duplicate codons: Stereochemical theory ...
Maxim Kuleshov's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Learn Bioconductor the hard way!

I recommend the DESeq2 tutorial at: http://www.bioconductor.org/help/workflows/rnaseqGene/ I think this is a good start for you because: DESeq2 is a very popular package. You'll learn how exactly a ...
SmallChess's user avatar
  • 1,019
4 votes

Evolution of the common honey bee's stinger

The answer to the question "has evolution designed the common Honey Bee's stinger solely for stinging man-kind?" is no. A honey bee's barbed stinger remains in the skin of any mammal afterwards due ...
arboviral's user avatar
  • 3,344
4 votes

Why do (almost) all energy carriers contain adenine?

One of the reasons why adenine is by far the most common component in energy carriers might be its less utility in DNA. Naitoh (2008) also describes this opinion. Keeping in mind the conditions on ...
another 'Homo sapien''s user avatar
4 votes

Why has life evolved around oxygen?

I think you need to consider that oxygen is toxic to large groups of microorganisms, because it poisons their electron transport chains. Strict anaerobes does not tolerate the presence of oxygen at ...
Jeppe Nielsen's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Does science have an explanation of how the first "common ancestor" formed in evolution?

Darwin's theory of evolution (and the modern theory of evolution) explains how the current diversity of life developed. Remember, the title of Darwin's book is On The Origin of Species, not the origin ...
Oosaka's user avatar
  • 3,245
4 votes

Is evolution a means to an end?

In a comment I ask you for specific passages that give you this impression (since when I read The Red Queen I came away with the opposite impression). You provided the following quote. in my 2003 ...
Charles E. Grant's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

What are the considerations for studying population genetics of bacterial pan-genomes?

It is possible to perform gene-level population genetics analyses on microbiome-derived bacterial species.1,2 † However, the biology of bacteria and the nature of metagenomic sequencing data make such ...
acvill's user avatar
  • 8,296
4 votes

Do mutations that cause the loss of a complex trait occur more often than mutations causing gain of a complex traits?

While I don't have a citation at hand, I don't think that one is needed. The principle follows directly from the notion of mutation in a complex system. Put simply, once you've got a functional ...
jakebeal's user avatar
  • 6,977
3 votes

Can estimating the likelihood of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds show life is too complex for evolutionary timescales?

Conclusions from the paper. The finally line in the article should actually be read first as it clearly spells out where the paper fits in the scientific literature. So, if re-creating a fold by ...
James's user avatar
  • 11.3k

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