stresses the importance of a key concept for understanding how both life and evolution work—“natural genetic engineering.” While the technical details of this phenomenon can be forbidding, the basic idea is simple enough. In a nutshell, the phrase “natural genetic engineering” refers to cells’ ability to “reprogram” their genomes as necessary—that is to say, purposefully—in order to meet changed environmental conditions.
Among many other things, Nevo,
Eviatar Nevo’s professional publications include 1,200 scientific articles and 24 books. He’s discovered hundreds of animal species, 77 different Dead Sea mushrooms, and has studied the blind subterranean mole-rat for 60 years, the latter he details in his book, Mosaic Evolution of Subterranean Mammals: Regression, Progression, and Global Convergence.
Anyway, here’s a bit of the interview:
Eibi Nevo: Let’s Get Evolution Right, It’s the “Basis of Everything”
Suzan Mazur: Do you see an evolution paradigm shift underway?
Eviatar Nevo: I think we have to regard the evolution theory as an evolving theory. It evolves with our better understanding of the world…
Genomics was a shift. Not so much in paradigm. Well, maybe in paradigm, it depends. However, it is clear that the remarkable developments in regulation by noncoding DNA and epigenetics have contributed dramatically to the evolution of evolutionary theory, in particular, regarding nonrandom, directed or adaptive mutations, the genome as a read-write memory system, and in what James Shapiro calls “natural genetic engineering.”
Suzan Mazur: What is the way forward? Is it important to define a new theory?
Eviatar Nevo: A new spirit, insight and innovation is what I think is very much needed…
The advancement we need now in evolution theory is to emphasize the strong link between ecology and genomics, and to evaluate the genome dynamics caused by environmental stress and changes in building novel adaptations and new biological species — the capacity to change is itself adaptive. The potential of organisms to change their heredity, and the tempo of this process, and how it is transmitted trans-generationally needs much more research at the genotypic and phenotypic levels.
Eviatar Nevo: The subject of bacteria and viruses is having a tremendous effect on current thinking. The viral world contributes enormously to the genomes of cellular life and thereby shapes the evolution of life in general. Take, for example, the mouse genome — it has about 10% of viral sequences in it More.
See also: Philosopher of science: Schoolbook Darwinism needs replacement
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