Adapt or Die!

2012, Science  -  53 min Leave a Comment
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If nature won't cooperate then why not take control. If for example through genetic manipulation you still don't succeed in creating the perfect crop or animal then why just not create one. Currently Australia is the leader in the enhancement of life through genetic modification techniques. In Australia they happily practice techniques that are forbidden everywhere else. But what consequences does that have on the process of evolution by natural selection?

Some say that genetics is nothing more than normal farming techniques with added ingenuity. For ten thousand years farmers have been giving the process of evolution by natural selection a helping hand, as Darwin called it "the process of evolution by domestic selection." In other words they've selected the traits they wanted in their plants and animals by allowing only the choice breeds to mate.

Gregor Mendel discovered that the units of genetics are not fluids but particles. He focused on one plant, the ordinary garden pea, and he remorselessly tracked down the productions of generations when he interbred them. In Australia living on a farm has become a lot easier because of Darwin and Mendel and this has nothing to do with natural selection.

But what are the rights and the wrongs of all this? Philosopher Daniel Dennett thinks that there is no reason we shouldn't tamper with nature. Everything you eat, every bit of clothing you wear is tampered. You could not survive on non-genetically modified diet, you couldn't live without it. The only difference is that now we can do the modifications lot faster, more effectively and much safer. So Europeans have been unnecessary difficult, according to Dennett.