The "Red Queen Theory" -Scientists Find Driving Force Behind Evolution is Fight for Survival not Environment
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February 26, 2010

The "Red Queen Theory" -Scientists Find Driving Force Behind Evolution is Fight for Survival not Environment

Full_color_red-700100 Scientists at the University of Liverpool have provided the first experimental evidence that shows that evolution is driven most powerfully by interactions between species, rather than adaptation to the environment.The team observed viruses as they evolved over hundreds of generations to infect bacteria. They found that when the bacteria could evolve defenses, the viruses evolved at a quicker rate and generated greater diversity, compared to situations where the bacteria were unable to adapt to the viral infection.

The study shows, for the first time, that the American evolutionary biologist Leigh Van Valen was correct in his 'Red Queen Hypothesis'. The theory, first put forward in the 1970s, was named after a passage in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass in which the Red Queen tells Alice, 'It takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place'. This suggested that species were in a constant race for survival and have to continue to evolve new ways of defending themselves throughout time.

Dr Steve Paterson, from the University's School of Biosciences, explains: "Historically, it was assumed that most evolution was driven by a need to adapt to the environment or habitat. The Red Queen Hypothesis challenged this by pointing out that actually most natural selection will arise from co-evolutionary interactions with other species, not from interactions with the environment.

"This suggested that evolutionary change was created by 'tit-for-tat' adaptations by species in constant combat. This theory is widely accepted in the science community, but this is the first time we have been able to show evidence of it in an experiment with living things."

Dr Michael Brockhurst said: "We used fast-evolving viruses so that we could observe hundreds of generations of evolution. We found that for every viral strategy of attack, the bacteria would adapt to defend itself, which triggered an endless cycle of co-evolutionary change. We compared this with evolution against a fixed target, by disabling the bacteria's ability to adapt to the virus.

"These experiments showed us that co-evolutionary interactions between species result in more genetically diverse populations, compared to instances where the host was not able to adapt to the parasite. The virus was also able to evolve twice as quickly when the bacteria were allowed to evolve alongside it."

The team used high-throughput DNA sequencing technology at the Centre for Genomic Research to sequence thousands of virus genomes. The next stage of the research is to understand how co-evolution differs when interacting species help, rather than harm, one another.

Casey Kazan via EurekaAlert.org


Comments

feel that we can deduce the origin of Altruism from 'Red Queen Hypothesis' were interactions between species plays a important
part like adaptabilty.

We used fast-evolving viruses so that we could observe hundreds of generations of evolution.

Napoleon And Bonaparte
Survival By Species Interactions And By Adaptation

A. "Scientists reveal driving force behind evolution"
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-02/uol-srd022510.php

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have provided the first experimental evidence that shows that evolution is driven most powerfully by interactions between species, rather than adaptation to the environment.

B. Evolution is driven by the drive of the genome to survive, to proliferate

"Cosmic Evolution Simplified"
http://www.the-scientist.com/community/posts/list/240/122.page#4427

Evolution = a theory, and the process described by it, that the whole universe changes in a progression of interrelated phenomena of mass formats attaining temporary augmented energy constraint in their successive generations with energy drained from other mass formats, to temporarily postpone, survive, reverting of their own mass to the cosmic energy fueling the galactic clusters expansion.

C. Napoleon and Bonaparte

An old Israeli tale about Pola, Ben-Gurion's (PM) wife, and Rachel Ben-Tsvi's (president) wife:

Pola: Who is your most favourite historical person?
Rachel: Napoleon. And who is your most favourite?
Pola: Bonaparte.
Rachel: But Napoleon and Bonaparte are identical!
Pola: But mine is more identical!

Dov Henis
(Comments From The 22nd Century)


"...most natural selection will arise from co-evolutionary interactions with other species..."

A bit obvious, a bit banal even. More interesting would be to understand why this is being (re)stated!

"...not from interactions with the environment."

Closing the systems? What environment? Biotic? Abiotic? The system biotic/abiotic? The so-called “environment” coevolves with the species, another trivia to consider in future press releases!

What about the planet? What is life? What is an evolving system? What does evolution mean?

"...Driving Force Behind Evolution..."

Certainly there is here some definition of force. It is no longer a matter of postulating the existence of some thing that is called a force from effects, but to localize in the system a causal determination, that is, these scientists were able to turn back to the origin of the evolutionary process and localize an originating force baptized (scientifically of course) with the name of Red Queen. This means that they not only went back to the Big Bang but were able to arrive at the causality that preceded the Big Bang and that originated it. And here we are before a (scientific) localization of THE first causes. Has CERN been informed that the “Queen of Higgs” was arrived at?

"This suggested that evolutionary change was created by 'tit-for-tat' adaptations by species in constant combat..."

Constant combat? War? What about mutualistic links? What about the role of synchrony in evolution? What is (co)evolution? (Co)evolution reduced to combat?!

Good article, crappy self important comments

I think my brain just exploded when reading this post. Awesome work.

Good blog, very good article. I have book mark the site.I will come again.q

Good post,This was exactly what I needed to read today! I am sure this has relevance to many of us out there.


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