Natural Selection

Essay by jcrooks799College, UndergraduateA, July 2009

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University of PhoenixAccording to the theory of natural selection, variations in populations provide raw material for evolution. Evolution is the genetic change in a population or species over generations, all the changes that transform life on Earth; the heritable changes that have produced Earth’s diversity of organisms. Evolution occurs when natural selection produces changes in the relative frequencies of alleles in a population’s gene pool, all of which has formed specific mechanisms.

For years, many experts and scientists have worked diligently in uncovering the truths and scientific mechanisms that contribute to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Through the use of recombinant DNA techniques and other empirical methods, evolutionary history is not only being documented in the human annals of research but is also written in the actual DNA sequences themselves. It is the “genetic drift” or change in genetic material that is the primary driver for evolution, and the role of DNA is paramount to its understanding.

To support this, let’s take the topic of genetic duplication. Over centuries, the genomes contained in certain organisms have increased in size and complexity and continue to do so to this day through genetic duplication. Given the size of these genomes, this allows great flexibility where certain genes can undergo modification without hindering the expression of vital proteins. This is because there are other genes that can take over and encode for the proteins that are important for normal cellular function. As these mutations grow over time, they confer new traits and new functions to organisms. In addition, this accumulation of mutations in certain situations can confer either a selective advantage or disadvantage to the affected species. In the most genericNatural Selection 3sense of the “survival of the fittest”, the organisms where genetic drift has provided an advantage and higher propensity to adapt will...