[Bioperl-l] Fwd: question about Bio::Tools::Run::StandAloneBlast

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Thu Apr 15 13:41:06 EDT 2010

On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 2:06 PM, Chris Fields <cjfields at illinois.edu> wrote:

> ...which has absolutely nothing to do with organismal evolution, except in
> the realm of Terminator and similar sci-fi.

Chris, you are correct, because the rates of "organismal evolution" are
relatively fixed in our solar system.  Short of a GRB going off nearby they
are in effect constant [1].

So in effect you are asserting that there can be "no" non-sudden breaks in
the natural process of evolution?
[I would in contrast argue geological transitions which might indicate the
For example, can the mutational rate of an organism decline to zero or can
it evolve to the point where the genome destroys itself?

Granting your point of the question of # of species on the planet, I would
say that our ability to sequence their genomes is expanding much faster than
our ability to interpret them.  I would further assert that our ability to
sequence them is expanding more rapidly than their ability to speciate  [2]
[for mammals this appears to require several million years.]

That said, unless you view the number of species on the planet as being
created faster than our ability to sequence them, there is no argument.

1. A Global thermonuclear war or a slew of nuclear power reactor "accidents"
could increase the global mutation rate.  But it is likely that the mutation
rate is fixed for the short time period of human lives.
2. The ability to speciate is presumably fundamentally tied to ones ability
to mutate ones genome.

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