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Understanding Evolution

Bioinformatics Bioinformatics – Integration of biological and computer systems Evolutionary biology is the study of the origin and descent of species, as well as their change over time. Bioinformatics has assisted evolutionary biologists in several key ways; it has enabled researchers to– trace the evolution of a large number of organisms by measuring changes in their DNA, rather than through physical taxonomy or physiological observations alone, track and share information on an increasingly large number of species and organisms. Let's start with the basic principles of evolution for further understanding, the advances in this area.

Learning Objectives

After completing the topic, the student will be able to:

  • Define and describe the theory of evolution.
  • Investigate the evidence of evolution.
  • Memorize the historical context for evolutionary theory.
  • Understand and explore the basic principles of evolution.
  • Discover how Biotechnology allows us to give direction to evolution.
  • Define and co – relate the terms – Bioinformatics and Evolution.
  • Predict where does life’s diversity come from.
  • Define the terms – mutation, gene flow and genetic drift and analyze how do these basic principles affect evolution.
  • Define and distinguish the gradual and rapid change that occurs in evolutionary populations.
What is life? What is life? – It can be answered by an understanding of evolution Where does life’s diversity come from? Most of these questions that can be answered by an understanding of evolution, genetics, and biodiversity. Most people believe that life is defined as having the ability to reproduce, even if it is by cell division.
Understanding evolution

Where does life’s diversity come from? Where do new species come from? Why do some species go extinct? These are just a few of the questions that can be answered by an understanding of evolution, genetics, and biodiversity. These disciplines explain the mechanisms that shape how organisms interact with their environment and, in turn, how the environment shapes organisms over many generations.

The theory of evolution is one of the best– known scientific theories around. Try to make it through a day without using or hearing the word "evolution" and you'll see just how widespread this theory is. Evolution is fascinating because it attempts to answer one of the most basic human questions: Where did life, and human beings, come from? The theory of evolution proposes that life and humans arose through a natural process. A very large number of people do not believe this, which is something that keeps evolution in the news. In this chapter, we will explore the theory of evolution and how it works.

Evolution and ecology are interrelated to each other. Ecology (It is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have, with respect to each other and their natural environment) has got much importance in understanding evolutionary theories. To study evolution without an understanding of ecology is to watch a sporting event without first learning the rules. With an understanding of the rules, however, even the smallest intricacies of the game can be appreciated, even loved. So it is with ecology, evolution provides a canon by which we may better understand the interactions of organisms with their environments.

Evolution of life Evolution of life Depicting the evolution of life on Earth. Earth (upper left) was born from clouds of gas and dust surrounding the Sun, which in turn was born from gas which condensed in our galaxy (upper right). Once the Earth started to cool after its formation, oceans formed, which were teeming with the basic chemical building blocks of life. From these components, first unicellular, then multi–cellular organisms evolved. As time progressed, larger predatory animals evolved, such as cartilaginous fish like the shark (center). These, and the bony fish (lower frame) which evolved later, paved the way for the conquest of the land.
Evolution results in change

Evolution is a process that results in changes in the genetic content of a population over time. Evolution describes changes in inherited traits of populations through successive generations. In fact, when we talk about evolutionary inheritance, the latter is what we are actually referring to: the transfer of genetic sequences from one generation to the next. When particular genetic sequences change in a population (e.g., via mutation) and these changes are inherited across successive generations, this is the stuff of evolution.

The study of evolution can be performed on different scales : Microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution reflects changes in DNA sequences and allele frequencies within a species over time. These changes may be due to mutations, which can introduce new alleles into a population.

In contrast with microevolution, macroevolution reflects large– scale changes at the species level, which result from the accumulation of numerous small changes on the microevolutionary scale. An example of macroevolution is the evolution of a new species. Macroevolution, on the other hand, refers to change at or above the level of the species.

Thus, evolution reflects the adaptations of organisms to their changing environments and can result in altered genes, novel traits, and new species. Evolutionary processes depend on both changes in genetic variability and changes in allele frequencies over time.

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