Princeton Team Adds Twist to Darwin's Theory

It's not random, they say: Organisms can control own evolution
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2008 7:25 PM CST
This photo provided by the Granger Collection shows English naturalist Charles Darwin in a photo from 1878.   (AP Photo/The Granger Collection)
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(Newser) – Princeton scientists say they have found evidence that organisms can essentially control their own evolution, a finding that could provide a fundamental shift in our understanding of Darwin's theory, reports the university's news service. The research suggests that evolution isn't entirely random, as Darwin believed. Rather, proteins within organisms constantly make self-correcting adaptations to bring about the fittest being.

The theory jibes with one in 1858 by Alfred Wallace, who articulated the theory of evolution independently of Darwin. "The discovery answers an age-old question that has puzzled biologists," said one researcher. "How can organisms be so exquisitely complex, if evolution is completely random, operating like a 'blind watchmaker'? Our new theory extends Darwin's model, demonstrating how organisms can subtly direct aspects of their own evolution to create order out of randomness."