Here’s their paper.
Abstract: Mutations drive evolution and were assumed to occur by chance: constantly, gradually, roughly uniformly in genomes, and without regard to environmental inputs, but this view is being revised by discoveries of molecular mechanisms of mutation in bacteria, now translated across the tree of life. These mechanisms reveal a picture of highly regulated mutagenesis, up-regulated temporally by stress responses and activated when cells/organisms are maladapted to their environments—when stressed—potentially accelerating adaptation. Mutation is also nonrandom in genomic space, with multiple simultaneous mutations falling in local clusters, which may allow concerted evolution—the multiple changes needed to adapt protein functions and protein machines encoded by linked genes. Molecular mechanisms of stress-inducible mutation change ideas about evolution and suggest different ways to model and address cancer development, infectious disease, and evolution generally. – Devon M. Fitzgerald, Susan M. Rosenberg, What is
mutation? A chapter in the series: How microbes “jeopardize” the modern synthesis April 1, 2019https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007995 (open access)More.
Jonathan Bartlett of the Blyth Institute responds,
Interesting article, especially to note it as a challenge to the modern synthesis (though the actual details have been known for a while). The infographic showing how the different DNA polymerases mutate differently was really good.
What keeps on being left out is a discussion, quantitatively, of whether these mutations are targeted to potential future benefit. I can’t tell if that is being left out intentionally so as to quell the fears of the Darwinists, or if it is just un-studied, perhaps due to the lack of theoretical tools to do so.
Also extremely aggravating is the nonsense evolutionary gloss
givento these systems. “Therefore, mutation rates have, presumably, been finely tuned, apparently through second-order selection” and other such nonsense.
Also endless appeals to how this isn’t really against the modern synthesis: – “Stress-induced mutation mechanisms, first discovered in bacteria, challenge historical assumptions about the constancy and uniformity of mutation but do not violate strict
interpre- tationsof the Modern Synthesis. Mutation is still viewed as probabilistic, not deterministic, but we argue that regulated mutagenesis mechanisms greatly increase the probability that the useful mutations will occur at the right time, thus increasing an organism’s ability to evolve and, possibly, in the right places. Assumptions about the constant, gradual, clock-like, and environmentally blind nature of mutation are ready for retirement”.
Note how the fact that mutations are no longer considered “environmentally blind” was thrown in at the end, almost as if they were hoping that reviewers didn’t catch it.
Okay, but at least they still have jobs and can work.
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See also: Researchers: Microorganisms can make evolution work faster for their hosts
“Fairly Sophisticated” Bacterial Communications Pose Stark Question Re Evolution