“From ‘Genome: The Autobiography of the Species in 23 Chapters’.” The Human Experience: Who Am I? Ed. Winthrop University. Littleton: Tapestry Press Ltd, 2009. 187-196.
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The causes of genetic diseases and disabilities in older individuals are explained by three evolutionary theories: antagonistic pleiotropy theory, mutation accumulation theory and disposable soma theory. These theories suggest that favorable natural selection and heavy allocation of resources for somatic maintenance during the reproductive period decreases the chances of genetic diseases in younger individuals. The antagonist pleiotropy theory was introduced by Charles Williams in 1957. Pleiotropy occurs when one gene affects multiple traits in the body. The antagonistic pleiotropy theory asserts that natural selection favors genes that benefit fitness in early life despite their harmful effects in later life (Gavrilov and Gavrilova 341).
In conclusion, Lamarck’s theory involves adaptations to create new variations, followed by the inheritance of these characteristics, while Darwin’s theory involves random hereditary variation first, followed by the selection of the variation. Genetics has disproven Lamarck’s theory on the basis that characteristics acquired during the lifetime of a parent are not passed onto the offspring. On the other hand, Darwin’s theory failed in explaining why a beneficial change-the loss of functionality of the appendix, for instance- can be passed generation after generation. However, Lamarck and Darwin both believed that life is continuously changing and that organisms change to be better suited to their environment (Mills 2004:119-121).
B. Reece, and L. G. Mitchell, Biology 5th ed., (New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 1999). 5. Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999) 24. 6. Ibid.
The Clone Age. New York: Henry Holtand Company, 1999. - Junker-Kenny, Maureen, and Lisa Sowle Cahill, ed. The Ethics of Genetic Engineering. London: SCM Press, 1998.
Stanford, Craig. Allen, John S. Anton, Susan C. Exploring Biological Anthropology second edition. Pearson Education, Inc. 2008. Pages 238-420.
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