Big Picture Science – The Evolution of Evolution

by Gary Niederhoff on May 4, 2015


Big Picture Science – The Evolution of Evolution

Darwinian evolution is adaptive and slow … millennia can go by before a species changes very much. But with the tools of genetic engineering we can now make radical changes in just one generation. By removing genes or inserting new ones, we can give an organism radically different traits and behaviors. We are taking evolution into our own hands.

It all began with the domestication of plants and animals, which one science writer says created civilization. Today, as humans tinker with their own genome, is it possible we will produce Homo sapiens 2.0?

Also, what happens to those species who can’t control their destiny? How climate change is forcing the biggest genetic reshuffling in recorded history.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Richard Francis / Domestication
Part 2: Juan Enriquez / Engineering Humans
Part 3: We can rebuild him?
Part 4: Jessica Hellmann / Climate Adaptation

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Steve Bergman February 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm

02:24 isn’t quite right. Views are changing with regards to the role of agriculture in human culture. The best example is probably the excavation of the mounds at Gobekli Tepe (Turkey), relatively uncontroversially dated to ~9000 BC, where it appears a group of non-nomadic hunter-gatherers settled down, built a village along with a (very) large dry goods storage facility for wild grains and other non-perishables, and had enough free time left over to do the kind of megalithic stone work we normally associate with the agrarian ancient Egyptians some 6,000 years later. Agriculture may not be quite as key to human civilization as we once thought. Kudos to the late Klaus Schmidt for his diligent work on the Gobekli Tepe excavation.

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