Evolution’s Speed – How Common Are Inversion Mutations?

Sotp it! Sotp it right now!

This is part of a series: How Fast is Evolution?

I might have figured out how to push evolution to its limit, but it’ll only be practical if the theory of evolution needs good mutations to be reasonably common.  The first step is to find the different kinds of mutations that are out there, and how common they are.  Today I’ll cover inversion mutations.

Continue reading Evolution’s Speed – How Common Are Inversion Mutations?

Evolution’s Speed – How Common Are Single Insertions and Deletions?

Every time you make a typo, the errorists win

This is part of a series: How Fast is Evolution?
Previous: Evolution’s Speed – How Common Are Point Substitution Mutations?

I might have figured out how to push evolution to its limit in a lab, but I need to find if it would be practical.  To do that, I need to know how common a good mutation must be if life really appeared by evolution.  I’m starting by reading up on the different kinds of mutations.  In my previous post I covered point substitution mutations, and in this post, I’ll cover insertions and deletions – also known as indels.

Continue reading Evolution’s Speed – How Common Are Single Insertions and Deletions?

Evolution’s Speed – My Assumptions and First Guesses

Fortune cookie says: "You are about to finish reading a fortune cookie"

This is part of a series: How Fast is Evolution?
Previous: How to Find Evolution’s Limit
Next: Evolution’s Speed – What Kinds of Mutations Are There?

In my previous post, I laid out my idea of how to test for evolution’s limit (irreducible complexity) in a lab.  Basically I’d try so many mutations on so many creatures that I’d be almost guaranteed to get a good one – assuming, of course, that life really appeared by evolution.

I have a big problem, though: I need a really big population to make this work.  Based on what I currently know of genetics, I might need such a big population that even a lake full of bacteria wouldn’t be big enough.

As I do the math to find out if my idea is practical, here are some assumptions I’m making.  I’ll also make some educated guesses about what would really happen.

Continue reading Evolution’s Speed – My Assumptions and First Guesses

How to Find Evolution’s Limit

Dice spiral

This is part of a series: How Fast is Evolution?
Next: Evolution’s Speed – My Assumptions and First Guesses

I might have figured out how to test for evolution’s limit in a lab.  In my previous series, I fixed a loophole in the definition of evolution’s limit.  In this series, I plan to learn whether my idea is practical.  I’ll list a bunch of info related to calculating how fast evolution must happen if it’s really how life appeared.  I hope to finish by calculating how big of a population I’d need to make my experiment work.

Here’s my idea:

Evolution is a game of chance.  It has rules – like the laws of physics, the current environment, and interaction with other creatures – and each mutation is a roll of the dice.  A good mutation is like rolling three 6’s in Risk – it’s very rare.  I want to cheat.

One rule of evolution is that it usually happens too slow to see.  If someone wants to study evolution – whether to test or confirm it – they must wait millions of years.  Since we humans don’t live that long, we have to speed up evolution to see it happen.  One way is to roll the dice very quickly – do mutation and natural selection to something with incredibly short generation times.  Another way is to roll a big bucket of dice all at once.

I already tried the first one.  Now I want to find if the second is practical.

Continue reading How to Find Evolution’s Limit