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Darwin lecture focuses on the genetic foundation of evolution
2009-05-22

 
The Department of Genetics at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently made their contribution to the story of life and survival by presenting two lectures on The genetic foundation of evolution. Prof. Johan Spies, Head of the Department of Genetics at the UFS discussed the variation that was created by mutations and how this variation was enhanced by re-combination. He also pointed out that these methods contributed relatively little to the gene pool of a species and that the expansion of the gene pool primarily took place by means of chromosome evolution. The latter also contributed to the creation of isolation mechanisms to prevent hybridism. He further emphasised the multitude of deviations of mendelian heredity, which contributed to more variation within a species.

Prof. Paul Grobler, Associate Professor from this department, next pointed out how natural selection played a role to form new species. He used various examples to indicate how the process took its course, for example, lactose intolerance. He also reported out that the man on the street mostly believed that Darwin with his theory of the survival of the fittest meant that the physically strongest species would survive. It was more a case of the one that could reproduce the fastest and the most, that would survive, he stated.

Present at the occasion were, from left front: Ms Letecia Jonker, student, Prof. Grobler, Ms Paula Spies, lecturer at the Department of Genetics and Ms Zurika Odendaal, junior lecturer at the Department of Genetics; back: Prof. Spies.
Photo: Stephen Collett

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