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Evolution explains the origin of life

It is a common misunderstanding that evolution includes an explanation of life’s origins. Conversely, some of the theory’s critics believe that it cannot explain the origin of life. The theory does not try to explain the origin of life. The theory of evolution explains how populations change over time and how life diversifies the origin of species. It does not shed light on the beginnings of life including the origins of the first cells, which is how life is defined. The mechanisms of the origin of life on Earth are a particularly difficult problem because it occurred a very long time ago, and presumably it just occurred once. Importantly, biologists believe that the presence of life on Earth precludes the possibility that the events that led to life on Earth can be repeated because the intermediate stages would immediately become food for existing living things.

However, once a mechanism of inheritance was in place in the form of a molecule like DNA either within a cell or pre-cell, these entities would be subject to the principle of natural selection. More effective reproducers would increase in frequency at the expense of inefficient reproducers. So while evolution does not explain the origin of life, it may have something to say about some of the processes operating once pre-living entities acquired certain properties.

Organisms evolve on purpose

Statements such as “organisms evolve in response to a change in an environment” are quite common, but such statements can lead to two types of misunderstandings. First, the statement must not be understood to mean that individual organisms evolve. The statement is shorthand for “a population evolves in response to a changing environment.” However, a second misunderstanding may arise by interpreting the statement to mean that the evolution is somehow intentional. A changed environment results in some individuals in the population, those with particular phenotypes, benefiting and therefore producing proportionately more offspring than other phenotypes. This results in change in the population if the characteristics are genetically determined.

It is also important to understand that the variation that natural selection works on is already in a population and does not arise in response to an environmental change. For example, applying antibiotics to a population of bacteria will, over time, select a population of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. The resistance, which is caused by a gene, did not arise by mutation because of the application of the antibiotic. The gene for resistance was already present in the gene pool of the bacteria, likely at a low frequency. The antibiotic, which kills the bacterial cells without the resistance gene, strongly selects individuals that are resistant, since these would be the only ones that survived and divided. Experiments have demonstrated that mutations for antibiotic resistance do not arise as a result of antibiotic.

In a larger sense, evolution is not goal directed. Species do not become “better” over time; they simply track their changing environment with adaptations that maximize their reproduction in a particular environment at a particular time. Evolution has no goal of making faster, bigger, more complex, or even smarter species, despite the commonness of this kind of language in popular discourse. What characteristics evolve in a species are a function of the variation present and the environment, both of which are constantly changing in a non-directional way. What trait is fit in one environment at one time may well be fatal at some point in the future. This holds equally well for a species of insect as it does the human species.

Section summary

Evolution is the process of adaptation through mutation which allows more desirable characteristics to be passed to the next generation. Over time, organisms evolve more characteristics that are beneficial to their survival. For living organisms to adapt and change to environmental pressures, genetic variation must be present. With genetic variation, individuals have differences in form and function that allow some to survive certain conditions better than others. These organisms pass their favorable traits to their offspring. Eventually, environments change, and what was once a desirable, advantageous trait may become an undesirable trait and organisms may further evolve. Evolution may be convergent with similar traits evolving in multiple species or divergent with diverse traits evolving in multiple species that came from a common ancestor. Evidence of evolution can be observed by means of DNA code and the fossil record, and also by the existence of homologous and vestigial structures.

Questions & Answers

A plant is a living thing that grows in the earth and has a stem, leaves, and roots
Bello Reply
what is a plant
dalitso Reply
A plant is a living thing that grows in the earth and has a stem, leaves, and roots
Bello
a plant is an is a living thing that is classified under autothrops because it makes its own food through the process of photosynthesis .
Joanne
what is plant
Odion Reply
Plants are autotrophic
Baramox
Then animal are heterotrophic
Iyiola
what are organisms
Godfred Reply
the diagram below show how the blood of a human embryo flows close to the mothers blood in the placenta . which substances are represent at x in higher concentrations than at y
Joyce Reply
what is ecology
Odion Reply
what is cell
Odion
what is cell
Odion
What is a cell
Awal Reply
What are tissues
Awal
A cell is the smallest unit of living organisms.
hamidat
Tissues are group of similar cells performing a particular function.
hamidat
how to pronounce the word cyanobacteria
siva Reply
Cyano then bacteria. look that "cyano" is just like "ciyano".
hamidat
explain the term transpiration pull
Tank Reply
water is mainly " pulled" through the plant and that the driving force for this process is transpiration from the leaves .This is also referred to as the cohesion- tension -transpiration pull model transport.
Vanessa
explain TRANSIOCATION and GUTATION
Tank
what Is corona
INGIEBE Reply
My brother go and ask GOOGLE😷😷😷
hamidat
Google it for the right answer. Corona is a virus which causes Novel Covid-19 disease that has been declared by WHO as a global or world pandemic.
Katlholo
Why is it called Covid-19?
Katlholo
jjwhat is. condinative system
Odion
joy
Odion
condinative system is the system that harmonize all the. different. part. of. the. body and make. them function as a. specific unit
Odion
Describe the process of protein sythesis?
Kizito Reply
Ribosomes are responsible for protein synthesis in animals.
hamidat
What is a ploidy level
Francis Reply
Ploidy refers to the number of chromosomes. We have 23 pairs of chromosomes in somatic cells. Sex cells are haploid thus 23 chromosomes vs. 46 Chromosomes.
Eric
Evolution is evolvement according to one's environment. Let's use humidity as an example. A person from a very cold environment would not be used to hot humid weather. But over time their body would slowly, slowly adapt.
Eric
Give me (3) types of biodiversity
Jay
Hi guys 🇧🇪
Namutebi
hello boy
Tedi
hi
INGIEBE
yes
amani
what do you guys understand about evolution?
Kiana Reply
it's a process or analayzing some program
Fahamia
but am not sure if some know plz let share
Fahamia
is a study of
Sarah
unfolding or unrolling hence the process of development of growth
Sarah
is the periodic change of the structural features of an organism
Rahim
I think
Rahim
process of developing
Nikita
hi guiz
Mohammed
hello guys
Safuna
hi
Kaniki
Evolution ~ Is the gradual change of development over time in which a new species are formed
amani
Evolution is the sum total of adaptive changes that has existed before.
hamidat
odionjimoh
Odion
hi
Odion
why are diagrams not available
Evans Reply
How can nucleotide molecules of DNA be constructed?construct a six molecules of DNA?
Julia Reply
You take a Deoxyribose sugar. The Deoxyribose sugar has a hydrogen on the second carbon vs. an OH group. The nitrogenous base binds to the #1 Carbon and a phosphate binds to the 5'. When the 2nd NBase bonds, it does so on the 3' Carbon. Thus you have 5' to 3' directional growth.
Eric
what is the explanation of local biomes in Nigeria
Kabir
It would be savanna, tropical grassland.
Eric

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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