Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Revise - Natural variation and evolution
We all coexist with micro organisms which are themselves programmed to change. I was preparing a paper for the weekend on natural variation in essential oils (the plants immune system) from season to season when suddenly the thought struck me that could not all evolution of differant species be but the unintended result not of natural selection but be a function of defensive natural variation at cellular level? If we can measure this tendancy to variation can we make predictions of a useful kind for example when species creation will accelerate?
Every human is unique, every living thing is unique but still recogniseably 'a whale' 'a rose' 'a human'. As a defensive measure against attack by microorganisms all creatures are programmed to produce offspring slightly differant to themselves. The higher and more complex the creature on the evolutionary pathway the more important this is. Then something happens. The species comes under attack from a micro-organism or is subject to the stresss of mass environmental change or opportunity.
Variation within species owes much to environmental opportunity but understanding of the the driver for creation of new species could simply be seen in terms of this natural process of defensive variation. We know that at times new species are created at a great rate at times they are hardly ever created and are in decline like our own time. What is it that triggers this radical creation of species?
Let me know if you are working on this idea or can point to a journal reference please.