[SydPhil] HPS Research Seminar Series 2014

Debbie Castle debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Wed Mar 26 11:29:15 AEDT 2014

Dear All,
The next presentation in the 2014 HPS Research Seminar Series will be:
"The Genomic Challenge to Adaptationism "
Since the late 1990s, the characterization of complete DNA sequences for a large and taxonomically diverse set of species has continued to gain in speed and accuracy. Sequence analyses indicate a strikingly baroque structure for most eukaryotic genomes, with multiple repeats of DNA sequences and with very little of the DNA specifying proteins. Much of the DNA in these genomes has no known function. These results have generated strong interest in the factors that govern the evolution of genome architecture. While adaptationist "just so" stories have been offered (as typically occurs in every area of biology), recent theoretical analyses based on mathematical population genetics strongly suggest that non-adaptive processes dominate genome architecture evolution. This paper critically synthesizes and develops these arguments fully, explicating a core argument along with several variants. It provides a critical assessment of the evidence that supports these arguments' premises. It also analyzes adaptationist responses to these arguments and notes the weaknesses of the core argument. These theoretical analyses continue the molecular reinterpretation of evolution initiated by the neutral theory in 1968. The paper ends by noting that some of these arguments can also be extended to evolution at higher levels of organization which raises questions about adaptationism in general. This remains a puzzle because there is little reason to doubt that many organismic features are genuine adaptations.
When: Monday 31st March 2014 - 4pm to 6pm approx.
Where: Science Meeting Room 450, Carslaw Building F07,  Camperdown Campus.

Debbie Castle
Administration Officer
Unit for History and Philosophy of Science
Room 441, Carslaw Building F07| THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY   NSW  2006
T: + 61 2  9351 4226 E: debbie.castle at sydney.edu.au
Office Open: Monday Tuesday and Wednesday

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