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Date:12/10/2010

al bacteria. In reviewing four decades of this research, biochemist Michael J. Behe (Lehigh University) points out that at the molecular level, these adaptive mutations come in three varieties: those that result in a loss of function (for example, a mutation causes a gene to stop making a protein), a modification of function, or a gain of a new function. Behe points out that very few adaptive mutations found in the lab thus far involve a gain of function. Instead, the vast majority are loss-of-function mutations or modifications leading to diminished function. Behe refers to the expectation that most adaptive evolution involves lost or diminished function as "The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution."

Michael J. Behe, "Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and 'The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution'"


State of Play

Despite its ubiquity across animal species, play behavior has received comparatively little attention from biologists. However, according to Kerrie Lewis Graham (Texas State University, San Marcos) and Gordon M. Burghardt (University of Tennessee), there has been a recent surge in research on play. "Once considered to be useless, frivolous, or only for the direct practice of adult behavior patterns, today we recognize that play is a heterogeneous category of behavior with diverse causal mechanisms, evolutionary histories, developmental trajectories, and experiential components," the researchers write.

Kerrie Lewis Graham and Gordon M. Burghardt, "Current Perspectives on the Biological Study of Play: Signs of Progress"


The Incoherence of Irreducible Complexity

Advocates of intelligent design creationism often tout the concept of irreducible complexity (IC) as a withering critique of Darwinian evolution. But Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman, (Ghent University, Belgium) argue that IC as defined by its most vocal proponent, Mich
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Contact: Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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