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The Tree of Life The tree of life is a metaphor which expresses the idea that all life is related

by common descent. Charles Darwin was the first to use this metaphor in modern biology. It had been used many times before for other purposes. The evolutionary tree shows the relationships among various biological groups. It includes data from DNA, RNA and protein analysis. Tree of life work is a product of traditional comparative anatomy, and modern molecular evolution and molecular clock research. Below is a simplified version of present-day understanding. The model of a tree is still considered valid for eukaryotic life forms. Research into the earliest branches of the eukaryote tree suggests a tree with either four supergroups, or two supergroups. There does not yet appear to be a consensus; in a review article, Roger and Simpson conclude that "with the current pace of change in our understanding of the eukaryote tree of life, we should proceed with caution". Biologists now recognize that the prokaryotes, the bacteria and archaea have the ability to transfer genetic information between unrelated organisms through horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Recombination, gene loss, duplication, and gene creation are a few of the processes by which genes can be transferred within and between bacterial and archaeal species, causing variation that is not due to vertical transfer. There is emerging evidence of HGT occurring within the prokaryotes at the single and multicell level and the view is now emerging that the tree of life gives an incomplete picture of life's evolution. It was a useful tool in understanding the basic processes of evolution but cannot explain the full complexity of the situation.

Natural Selection Natural selection is the means by which beneficial variations in a population tend to be preserved while unfavorable variations tend to be lost. One of the key concepts behind the theory of natural

Natural selection is a relatively simple theory that involves five basic assumptions.Individuals within a population are variable. The theory of natural selection can be better understood by identifying the basic principles on which it relies. some individuals are better suited to their environment while other individuals are not so well-suited.  Inheritance .Individuals that have certain characteristics are better able to survive and reproduce than other individuals having different characteristics. . that is individuals with more favorable characteristics will become more common in the population and individuals with less favorable characteristics will become less common.  Variation . As a result of that variation.  Time .  Differential survival and reproduction . Some individuals have different characteristics than others. or assumptions. Because members of a population must compete for finite resources.Some of the characteristics that influence an individual's survival and reproduction are heritable.selection is that there is variation within populations.Ample amounts of time are available to allow for change.More individuals in a population are born each generation than will survive and reproduce. The result of natural selection is a change in gene frequencies within the population over time. include:  Struggle for existence . Those principles. those better suited to their environment will out-compete those that are not as well-suited.

Due to the fact that environments are unstable. the alleles of organisms within a population change. The study of heredity in biology is called genetics. Heredity Heredity is the passing of traits to offspring (from its parent or ancestors). but the process of natural selection does not. These traits arise from the interaction of its genotype with the environment. gene flow (movement of genes from one population to another) and sexual reproduction. More favorable traits are thereby passed on to the population as a whole. This is the process by which an offspring cell or organism acquires or becomes predisposed to the characteristics of its parent cell or organism. populations that are genetically variable will be able to adapt to changing situations better than those that do not contain genetic variation. The complete set of observable traits of the structure and behavior of an organism is called its phenotype. Through heredity. The environment determines which variations are more favorable. which includes the field of epigenetics.Variation In genetic variation. Natural selection is the result of the interactions between genetic variations in a population and the environment. Gene variation is important to the process of natural selection. variations exhibited by individuals can accumulate and cause some species to evolve. eye color is an example of an inherited characteristic: an individual might inherit the "brown-eye trait" from one of the parents. In humans. The genetic variations that arise in a population happen by chance. As a . Inherited traits are controlled by genes and the complete set of genes within an organism's genome is called its genotype. Genetic variation occurs mainly through DNA mutation.

suntanned skin comes from the interaction between a person's genotype and sunlight. many aspects of an organism's phenotype are not inherited. some people tan more easily than others. . due to differences in their genotype: a striking example is people with the inherited trait of albinism. thus. suntans are not passed on to people's children. For example. Heritable traits are known to be passed from one generation to the next via DNA. a molecule that encodes genetic information. However.result. who do not tan at all and are very sensitive to sunburn.