Nick Barton is a distinguished evolutionary biologist recognized by the Royal Academy of Science. He was awarded the Darwin-Wallace medal by the Linnean Society in London, an award that is only given every fifty years. In this video lecture, he discusses how sexual reproduction evolved, not for pleasure, but for creating more biodiversity than occurs from asexual reproduction. In asexual reproduction, an organism makes an exact duplicate of itself. This does not allow for much adaptation. With sexual reproduction, each parent gives half of its DNA to the offspring thereby ensuring new combinations are possible.
In a tree of life design, he discusses the function of the eukaryotic cells and notes that radiation exposure was responsible for many mutations found in the fossil record. Through the method of effective selection, cells pick out tiny pieces of the DNA that increase genetic robustness from the many possible combinations available.
Over vast lengths of time, increasingly complex organisms form with advanced abilities. He gives examples of the spectacular vision of the owl coming from its extremely well adapted ocular system and the antennae of a moth, which is able to sense the pheromone odors of a potential mate from many miles away.
Barton developed sophisticated mathematical models of genome sequences to show how, in spite of the obvious costs, sexual reproduction acts on a large number of genes to aid natural selection. Gene recombination gives a boost to adaption rates that increases diversity.
Breaking the Wall That Limits Evolution: How Sexual Recombination Accelerates Adaptation
- Enhanced DVD
- ISBN: 978-1-62290-444-0
- Run Time: 14 Minutes
- Copyright Date: 2011
- Public performance rights included