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"It's remarkable that even though processes like hybridization and symbiogenesis have been well-known for decades, many neo-Darwinists firmly insist on gradualism in evolutionary change. Their position notwithstanding, living organisms have many tools at their disposal for generating sudden change.

As I described in my previous HuffPost blog, "Evolutionary Lessons from Superbugs," bacteria get new DNA information from unrelated organisms. Microbes transform into superbugs in a few minutes by "horizontal DNA transfer." Similar events confer new traits to many microbial and eukaryotic recipients, often multiple characters in a single step.

Was Darwin simply mistaken about the gradual nature of hereditary variation? Such ignorance would be unavoidable before we knew about Mendelian genetics and DNA. Or was there a deeper flaw in the theory that he (and Alfred Russell Wallace) propounded? The answer may well be that it was a basic mistake to think that optimizing fitness is the source of biological diversity...
James A. Shapiro: What Is the Key to a Realistic Theory of Evolution?"

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