Evolution: Natural Selection and Beneficial Mutations Essay

Submitted By Dmsnelg
Words: 596
Pages: 3

The theory of evolution is one of the best-known scientific theories around. 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. The basic theory of evolution is surprisingly simple and has a few essential parts and stresses a purely naturalistic descent. That is, complex creatures evolve from more simplistic ancestors naturally over time. In a nutshell, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism‘s genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival - a process known as “natural selection.” These beneficial mutations are passed on to the next generation. Over time beneficial mutations accumulate and the result is an entirely different organism (not just a variation of the original, but an entirely different creature).
Natural selection acts to preserve and accumulate minor advantageous genetic mutations. Suppose a member of a species developed a functional advantage (it grew wings and learned to fly). Its offspring would inherit this adaptation and pass it on to their offspring. The inferior (disadvantaged) members of the same species would gradually die out, leaving only the superior (advantaged) members of the species. Natural selection is nature’s equivalent to domestic breeding. Over the centuries, humans have produced dramatic changes in domestic animals by selecting individuals to breed. Breeders eliminate undesirable traits gradually over time. Similarly, natural selection eliminates inferior species gradually over time.
Occasionally a process call speciation will occur within a species. This happens when a new organism has been created and it can no longer interbreed with the original organisms in nature and produce viable offspring. At that point, they are now a new species and speciation has occurred. Here is a simple example of how speciation could occur. Simple fruit fly eggs have been laid on a bunch of bananas. As these eggs are lounging on the bananas on the mainland, a hurricane strikes and washes the bananas and the eggs out to sea. Eventually the bananas and the eggs are washed up on an island. The fruit flies hatch and mature on the island. Due to environmental differences on the island, the