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Consider the ability of bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.

The same kind of limit applies to all natural selection operating on the available genetic material.

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(2011) How stands the Tree of Life a century and a half after ?

Harold, 2001).
, by Leslie Mullen, Astrobiology Magazine, 28 Apr 2003.
, April 16: Point mutations are less important than rearrangements of longer DNA strands in evolution....
, by Lynn Yarris, ScienceBeat, 4 Apr 2003.

The great pioneer of that field was Gregor Mendel, whose work was contemporary with Darwin's.

One proposal is "species sorting" or "species selection." In general, the new idea is that big evolutionary steps occur gradually in small, isolated populations.

The globin family of genes are in this category.

According to the prevailing paradigm, this is the mechanism behind evolution.

Now for the key concept of “synthesis.” This is not a philosophical term, as it was introduced by Huxley with the title of his famous book. What he meant to convey was the idea that the MS was not something radically different from Darwinism and neo-Darwinism (the late 19th century modification of the original theory that got rid of Lamarckian influences, largely thanks to the work of August Weissman and Alfred Wallace). Rather, it was a merging, a reconciliation, of Darwinism with the new discoveries coming out of genetics, and in particular the demonstration, achieved by Ronald Fisher, that Darwinism and Mendelism were not at all at odds with each other, as many thought at the time. The Synthesis then got expanded to a number of additional disciplines, from natural history to zoology and botany, and of course to paleontology (but, crucially, not to embryology and developmental biology).

On the cover of we read this synopsis of the Cambrian Explosion: "New discoveries show that life as we know it began in an amazing biological frenzy that changed the planet almost overnight" .

Cheng The April 15, 1997 issue of

But plausibility in the current paradigm of evolution is apparently unnecessary.

Martin Embley1 and William Martin, "Eukaryotic evolution, changes and challenges" [], p 623-630 v 440, , 30 Mar 2006.
: Why has there has been so little change in major body plans since the Early Cambrian?
: Researchers evolve a complex genetic trait in the laboratory?
: "Evolution in Action" was the number one "Breakthrough of the Year" according to .
: , by Marc W.

About optimization: 5 certain a-a substitutions could theoretically be reached 5!=120 ways, but only 10 of them are likely to be permitted by natural selection.

Koonin Interesting chapters:Chapter 5: Gregory Wray: Integrating genomics into evolutionary theory.
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  • Books and articles on the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis:

    Although some have disputed this interpretation of their experiments, it is now well established.

  • Includes the essay, "The Origin of Life," 1928.

    Koonin (2009) Darwinian evolution in the light of genomics; Koonin EV, Wolf YI.

  • Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins

    Another example of similar "evolution" in eukaryotic cells is described in Renato Dulbecco's .

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Evolution, the Extended Synthesis | The MIT Press

In the six decades since the publication of Julian Huxley’s Evolution: The Modern Synthesis, the spectacular empirical advances in the biological sciences have been accompanied by equally significant developments within the core theoretical framework of the discipline. As a result, evolutionary theory today includes concepts and even entire new fields that were not part of the foundational structure of the Modern Synthesis. In this book, sixteen evolutionary biologists and philosophers of science survey the conceptual changes that have emerged since Huxley’s landmark publication, not only in such traditional domains of evolutionary biology as quantitative genetics and paleontology but also in such new fields of research as genomics and EvoDevo. Most of the contributors accept many of the tenets of the classical framework but want to relax some of its assumptions and introduce significant conceptual augmentations of the basic Modern Synthesis structure—just as the architects of the Modern Synthesis themselves expanded and modulated previous versions of Darwinism. This continuing revision of a theoretical edifice, the foundations of which were laid in the middle of the nineteenth century—the reexamination of old ideas, proposals of new ones, and the synthesis of the most suitable—shows how science works, and how scientists have painstakingly built a solid set of explanations for what Darwin called the “grandeur” of life.

Further Reading: Evolution, The Extended Synthesis

Perhaps punctuated equilibrium is a clue that the genetic mechanism underlying evolutionary progress is altogether different from the one currently in favor.

Evolution - Extended Synthesis.

MP: Excellent point. Some of the critics like to dismiss what is being done under the umbrella of the ES as just self-promotion, which I think is both uncharitable and naive. Uncharitable because the many people that have been and will be working on expanding the evolutionary synthesis are serious researchers with interesting ideas to be tested, and only then to be validated or rejected. Naive because they seem to appeal to some sort of pure version of science, unadulterated by human emotions and foibles, which never existed and never will.

Evolution—The Extended Synthesis by Massimo Pigliucci

As I said above, the MS was in part the result of a clash of personalities. And so was the original Darwinism, with Darwin himself being very conscious of the fact that he needed to court allies and to keep in check foes. Science is a human activity, not something pursued from a Platonic realm by Platonic creatures.

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