The Dynamic Genome: A Darwinian Approach

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© Antonio Fontdevila 2011. All rights reserved. The ever-increasing knowledge of whole genome sequences is unveiling a variety of new structures and mechanisms that impinge on current evolutionary theory. The origin of species, the evolution of form and the evolutionary impact of transposable elements are just a few of the many processes that have been revolutionized by ongoing genome studies. These novelties are examined in this book in relation to their significance for evolution, emphasizing their human relevance. For example, the small genomic differences between humans and chimps challenges our understanding of what makes us humans in terms of genetic differences. Certainly, neither the increase in number of genes nor, probably, the changes in coding sequences are the key evolutionary differences that define our humanity. Most probably the relevant steps towards the evolution of higher forms, humans among them, have arisen in regulatory and assembling processes that decide when, where, and in which combination the already existing genetic blocks operate. These are just a few glimpses of these controversial issues that this book examines in the context of Darwinian evolution. Recently this debate has centred on arguments extracted from genomic and molecular information that have been intended to 'deconstruct' the Darwinian Theory. The purpose of this book is to show that whilst genome dynamism is providing new, and previously unanticipated, sources of variability, there is no reason to dismiss the role of natural selection as the leading mechanism that sorts out the adaptive potentialities. This book provides many examples to justify the argument to 'reconstruct', rather than to 'deconstruct', the Darwinian Theory.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages231
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2011


  • Darwinian Evolution
  • Evolution of Form
  • Genome Studies
  • Humans
  • Natural Selection
  • Origin of Species
  • Regulatory Processes
  • Transposable Elements


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