On April 5, 2005, the prominent British genetics professor Steve Jones published a witty essay in the London Daily Telegraph that explained with unusual frankness just how strange, and even paradoxical, is the role of mutation in neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory.
According to chemical laws, wrote Jones, who teaches at University College, London, we all ought to be dead by now. The basis for this gloomy prognosis is “thermodynamics, meaning the random noise that interferes with all chemical reactions and causes them to go wrong.” The chemistry of DNA ensures the continual production of much mutational noise, because “the chances of physical error as each DNA molecule is copied are . . .
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