Questions about evolution?
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18-06-2013, 12:59 PM
RE: Questions about evolution?
(18-06-2013 08:38 AM)ridethespiral Wrote:  
(18-06-2013 08:26 AM)Chas Wrote:  Whether there is a high-level language for DNA is not known.

I suppose there could be one if say it where an alien technology that created us all, but I'd say the safe bet is that one does not exist, everything we know about evolution suggests that DNA is written at the 'byte level' though trial and error (aka natural selection).

In any event if a high level lang exists for DNA we certainly don't have the complier for it... Which is not to say that we could not some day create a high level language for DNA, that would would be a dream come true for humanity if used responsibly.

I was speaking somewhat metaphorically. It appears that DNA is not a simple or linear encoding, but a multi-level recursive encoding.

So as we learn more about how it functions the algorithms will emerge, and these will be at a higher level than the codon sequence.

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18-06-2013, 01:58 PM
RE: Questions about evolution?
(18-06-2013 12:59 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(18-06-2013 08:38 AM)ridethespiral Wrote:  I suppose there could be one if say it where an alien technology that created us all, but I'd say the safe bet is that one does not exist, everything we know about evolution suggests that DNA is written at the 'byte level' though trial and error (aka natural selection).

In any event if a high level lang exists for DNA we certainly don't have the complier for it... Which is not to say that we could not some day create a high level language for DNA, that would would be a dream come true for humanity if used responsibly.

I was speaking somewhat metaphorically. It appears that DNA is not a simple or linear encoding, but a multi-level recursive encoding.

So as we learn more about how it functions the algorithms will emerge, and these will be at a higher level than the codon sequence.

Okay yeah, I'm sure that at a basic level DNA has to bootstrap itself, that it needs to establish rules and sequences, functions/breaks that cause jumps or iterations, etc. It has to build a type of chemical API, In the same way that advanced software does....but the term high level language implies that we can compile/translate DNA into english/math or execute it in an emulator and that is something completely different and far beyond our current capacity.

No doubt, DNA will turn computing on it's head.

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18-06-2013, 02:03 PM
RE: Questions about evolution?
(18-06-2013 12:51 PM)ghostexorcist Wrote:  
(18-06-2013 10:59 AM)Derek Hammar Wrote:  Hmm... Interesting, it seems that there is more to be learned than I had thoughtDrinking Beverage. I have yet another question, I was watching a video by Richard Dawkins where he explained the evolution of the eye. He talked about an organism receiving a cell sensitive to light, then slowly it curves and fills with jelly making a clearer picture, right? My question is how does that organism get the light-sensitive cell in the first place?

Cyanobacteria have photoreceptive cells used for processing sunlight into energy. This is believed to be the earliest precursor of the eye. A very good book on the subject is Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved (2012). Just be forewarned that it is a very specialized book (and pricey too). You need to have a solid background in evolutionary history to truly appreciate it.

Read the 1 star reviews on amazon for a good laugh. Not one of those people read it, they just want to tell others how delusional or made up the evidence is. You gotta love creationists.
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18-06-2013, 04:13 PM
RE: Questions about evolution?
I understand the process after the sensitivity to light, but how does it become sensitive to light?

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18-06-2013, 04:29 PM
RE: Questions about evolution?
(18-06-2013 04:13 PM)Derek Hammar Wrote:  I understand the process after the sensitivity to light, but how does it become sensitive to light?

Mutation. That's where everything comes from.

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10-07-2013, 12:41 AM
RE: Questions about evolution?
(13-06-2013 05:38 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  Derek, I like the language analogy. The latin language changed and diverged over thousands of years and now can be seen as french, spanish, etc. Every generation of latin speakers spoke a slightly different language to their parents. Each generation could communicate with their parents and their children. Even over many generations people could understand each other, but add up those changes over thousands of years and ancient latin won't be understandable to a modern Spaniard, and vice versa.

Genetic change works in a similar way. Each generation has a slightly different genetic composition to its parent and child generations. The genes still work together, and individuals can still interbreed both within their generation and with nearby generations. However, stretch time out far enough and you'll find that might not be able to breed with individuals spaced thousands of generations apart in time.

No child is ever a different species to its parents... but changes add up over time and a thousand generations later you can easily spot the differences. It's not possible to really point to the moment an old species became a new species, but you can point to a region of time when this occurred over many generations.

I like that analogy too. Yep, and because we get fossils at extremely rare intervals, it looks like wildly different species. Of course if you had an actual continuous lineage you'd notice very little difference from one individual to the next.
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10-07-2013, 03:10 AM
RE: Questions about evolution?
That's where evolution seems more like chance. Don't get me wrong, I get how species evolve via mutation and weeded out via natural selection, but the idea that an organism can develop a new sense is entirely foreign to me, and I will have to do more research on.

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10-07-2013, 06:57 AM
RE: Questions about evolution?
Derek, the language analogy mostly describes genetic drift which is a major factor in evolution but is random. Natural selection is the non-random component where over hundreds of generations a slightly favourable trait (a +1-2% chance of producing offspring) causes that trait to come to dominate the population over a hundred generations or so.

But if you want to talk about senses specifically, it's hard to imagine a vertebrate developing a new innovative sense. When you think about a sense like touch or taste you need to go back a lot further to simpler animals in order to get a sense of how the change could have occurred. Sight for example is thought by many to have been the driver behind the Cambrian explosion and would have developed in very primitive and very small organisms. Taste is thought to trace back to the earliest single celled organisms and their need to sense different chemicals in their environment.

As modern vertebrates we have a lot of adaptations baked in due to billions of years of evolution, mostly as single-celled organisms. Those aren't things we can just wind back or change. Single cells or very small or simple organisms can survive more radical changes than we can.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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13-07-2013, 01:16 AM
RE: Questions about evolution?
Okay, now that I$I isn't messing things up, got any new inquires, Derek? Always fun to help if needed.

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13-07-2013, 05:05 AM
RE: Questions about evolution?
(10-07-2013 03:10 AM)Derek Hammar Wrote:  That's where evolution seems more like chance. Don't get me wrong, I get how species evolve via mutation and weeded out via natural selection, but the idea that an organism can develop a new sense is entirely foreign to me, and I will have to do more research on.

One difficulty in thinking about evolution is the matter of the time scale.

An entirely new sense would likely take a very, very long time to develop - many, many generations. Each change is tiny and each change has to be 'visible' to selection. That is, there has to be something that favors passing on those genes.

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