On Sat, Aug 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM, Chris de Morsella <cdemorse...@yahoo.com>wrote:

>> >> It's not news that some chemicals increase the rate of mutation.
> > Epigenetic changes that effect what is transcribed is not mutation – at
> least in the classic sense of changing – i.e. mutating – the underlying
> DNA. The DNA is not mutated; the underlying sequence of bases remains
> unaltered.

It's true that  epigenetic changes don't effect the underlying DNA, but
that is a distinction of little or no importance to Evolution because all
it's interested in is the resulting phenotype and how well the animal does
in getting its inheritance factors (regardless of if those factors are made
of DNA base pairs or methylation) into the next generation. Perhaps on a
distant planet there is a ecosystem that doesn't use DNA or methylation at
all, but it must have some mechanism of inheritance and that mechanism must
be very reliable but not perfectly so because there must be some way to
generate random changes. And on that distant planet Darwinian natural
selection would still be needed to separate the good changes from the bad.

> it seems to me – that life dances on the knife edge between order and
> chaos. Stray too far towards either chaos or order and life very quickly
> stops living.

Yes, I agree.

  John K Clark

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