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1189 Glorious Leader

About Arete

  • Rank
    Biology Expert

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  • Interests
    Ecological speciation, functional genomics, phylogenetics, population genetics and evolution.
  • College Major/Degree
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Evolutionary Biology
  • Occupation
    Assistant Professor

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  1. If the OP had a genuine question about the practical utility of phylogenetic inference, I would have thought a handful of review papers explicitly explaining how it is used in various applied fields would be a useful answer - but as was demonstrated it was a disingenuous OP and they were rejected out of hand. Probably should've just said "Sure bud" and gone back to doing useful things with phylogenies, but hey, I had beer that needed drinking and the TV was boring.
  2. I would argue they do, The idea that heating/cooling cycles explained the shape of the continents was disproven when existing and new data fit the new idea of plate tectonics more precisely. I would accept (probably after a lot of hat eating) a better explanation of the incomprehensible quantity of data that fits the contemporary theory of evolution - but I wouldn't accept the notion that the data don't fit the theory in the absence of a better model, because they do.
  3. Plate tectonics is probably the quintessential example of a theory that resulted in a complete paradigm shift. Although, one day is hyperbole - it took 50 years give or take. In my field, though less dramatic, it's probably the emergence of methylation and epigenetics are heritable components of traits. Edit: You're partially correct - it is relatively standard to proceed using the best current model unless a new, better model is proposed which fits the data more wholly.
  4. Of course. If evolution were disproven tomorrow it would be the most exciting day ever to be an evolutionary biologist. But you'd have to come up with something pretty amazing to better explain the reams of data produced every day which boringly conforms to the predictions of contemporary evolutionary theory.
  5. The microbes will take any concept one has of the division between micro and macro evolution, laugh at you and do whatever the hell they want. Different species? Ha, it's a couple of genes that produce a totally different phenotype, and they're on plasmids, and can make the bacteria kill you or be totally harmless. I'm looking at you Bacillus ACT group.
  6. He was a proponent of Neo-Lamarkian evolution. It wasn't that he has been shunned or ignored, simply that Lamarkism was disproven.
  7. No, I just didn't feel it necessary to duplicate literature which already exists because you're too lazy to click a link, but I'll play: Here: Is an investigation of the genus Neisseria - which includes the pathogens N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae as well as a number of non-pathogenic commensal species. Both pathogens have been observed in the clinic to be penicillin resistant. By reconstructing the phylogeny ("Darwin tree" if you insist) we can determine that the resistance genes are mosaic genes resultant of ectopic recombination rather than vertical transfer, and horizontal exchange with commensal species is a probable route for inheritance of resistance in pathogenic species. TlDr: by Making a Darwin tree of a genus of bacteria, we can show that they share and recombine genes that encode antibiotic resistance, and come up with better management plans for controlling the spread of drug resistance in those pathogens.
  8. Rather than being vague, I linked to a peer reviewed publication in each instance. Click the links.
  9. Despite multiple, cited examples you're going to go ignore them and hand wavingly dismiss them without actually doing any investigation whatsoever. Right. I guess we're done here. Two points of clarification for those playing along; One - theory is as good as it gets in science. A theory is a an explanation, supported by evidence, which accurately predicts observations. Gravity, relativity, plate tectonics, etc are all theories. Dismissing a concept because it is called a theory demonstrates a lack of fundamental, grade school knowledge of science. As to not convolute them, Scientific laws are sets of observations which tend to remain constant E.g. The LAW of gravity dictates that if I drop a pen it accelerates towards the ground at 9.8m/s/s. The THEORY of gravity is that the pen and earth respond to a force of attraction cause by an unequal distribution of mass in the universe. two - evolution is an incremental process - the accumulation of mutations, over generations through time. The distinction between macro and micro evolution is simply a categorization of convenience of the same phenomenon over different scales. Much like time into minutes, days, weeks, years, etc. Believing in micro but not macro evolution is like believing in hours, but not weeks. I gave you five.
  10. The modern rendition of the tree of common descent would be the phylogenetic tree. There are extensive practical uses of phylogenetic trees and theory. Some examples include epidemiology and outbreak tracking, conservation biology, forensic investigation and drug discovery to name a few. The foundation for modern phylogenetic inference is coalescent theory. Using coalescent theory, we can generate predictions as to how traits or DNA/RNA sequences should have changed if the assumption that they arose from a common ancestor is true. Contemporary genetic sequences and physical characteristics can be evaluated to determine if they meet the predictions of common descent under the coalescent. Huge quantities of genetic, phenotypic, biogeographic, etc data have been tested under a wide range of models, and to date, the vast majority supports common ancestry of most of the tree of life, with the caveat of some uncertainty of branching and wtf viruses came from.
  11. What's your biologically relevant definition of race?
  12. Some of the negatives probably came from me. When you immediately dismiss someone coming forward with a claim of sexual assault as a liar, and ridicule/criticize the circumstances of their claim despite them being typical, you perpetuate the toxic environment which effectively silences victims of sexual violence and prevents them from coming forward. The way in which mistermack discussed ford's assault was toxic, and symptomatic of the animosity typically faced by victims of sexual violence coming forward.
  13. By applying coalescent theory, we can estimate that the average number of generations required to fix a given allele in a given diploid population is 4 times the effective population size. This can be modified by a mutation rate or selection coefficient (u) to give the average rate of fixation for a given allele under a specific mutational model. So, if you were asking how many generation does it take for a genetic mutation that confers a certain phenotypic trait to fix in a specific human population, the answer is 4 times the effective size of the population, times the selection coefficient of the trait in question.