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Has evolution ground to a halt?

By October 17, 2008 December 14th, 2011 No Comments

A million years into the future we may have evolved into a race of super beings, or possibly regressed into a troll like state, but a leading geneticist says we will most likely be more or less the same as we are now. Stece Jones argued in a recent lecture that the forces driving evolution (principally natural selection and genetic mutation) no longer have much of an impact. In the past, tiny advantages could have made the diference between life or death, making it more likely that the strongest/quickest/smartest would survive to pass their genes on to the next generation. But in the west, modern life is so comfortable that 98% of children survive into adulthood and natural selection no longer has death as a handy tool to promote advantages. Another factor is that fewer men have children in old age, and it is the sperm of older men that is the most likely to produce mutations and genetic variations. Finally, the opportunity for random change is dwindling because we no longer live in small isolated populations in which genes can be accidentally lost.

“History is made in bed, but nowadays the beds are moving closer togther. We are mixing into a global mass, and the future is brown” says Jones.

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