Nerve cells ZEISS Microscopy/Flickr

حدود جديدة للتطور

ميشيما ــ كانت الاختراقات التي تحققت مؤخراً في فهمنا للآليات الجزيئية سبباً في إحداث ثورة في العديد من مجالات البيولوجيا (علم الأحياء)، بما في ذلك بيولوجيا الخلية وبيولوجيا التطور. لذا فليس من المستغرب أن تزودنا هذه التطورات برؤى قيمة في مجال بيولوجيا التطور أيضا، بما في ذلك الأدلة التي تدعم النظرية شبه المحايدة للتطور الجزيئي والتي وضعتها عام 1973.

وكما هي الحال في عالَم العلوم عادة، فإن كل اكتشاف في مجال بيولوجيا التطور يثير من التساؤلات بقدر ما يجيب على تساؤلات أخرى. والواقع أن مجال عملي يمر الآن بواحدة من أكثر الفترات ديناميكية في تاريخه الذي امتد مائة وخمسين عاما.

على مدى قرن من الزمان تقريباً بعد نشر تشارلز دارون لكتابه "في أصل الأنواع"، كان العلماء يعتقدون أن الطفرات الجينية محكومة بعملية مشابهة لتلك التي وصفها مؤسِس نظرية الانتقاء الطبيعي. وكانت الفكرة تتلخص في أن الأفراد الذين يتمتعون بمتغيرات جينية متفوقة أكثر قدرة على البقاء، والتكاثر، وتمرير جيناتهم مقارنة بأولئك الذين لا يتمتعون بمثل هذه الجينات.

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