Technology Evolution: Insights into Invisible Evolution and Epigenetics

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2023/08/17
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From Divine Creation to Early Evolutionary Theories: Lamarck, Darwin, and the Quest for Understanding

Until the eighteenth century, the general idea of how the world came to be was rooted in a Creator uniquely forming each type of species (Futuyma, 2017). The idea tended to be based on the Bible and the Christian faith. Many people believed a supreme being created the Earth and each different species, the species remaining unchanged throughout time. During the eighteenth century, several different scientists and philosophers hypothesized alternative forms of the Earth’s creation and development.

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One of the first hypotheses on the matter was by Chevalier de Lamarck in 1801 (Futuyma, 2017). Lamarck believed if an organism made adaptations or changes during the organism’s life, that those adaptations would be passed onto the organism’s offspring. Lamarck’s hypothesis was called “Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics.” Science has shown the hypothesis to be inaccurate as acquired traits are not incorporated into DNA and passed onto offspring. Lamarck was responsible for creating a way to test evolution, even if the science behind the hypothesis was inaccurate. Several years after Lamarck, Charles Darwin began to make observations about the natural world that did not align with creation science.

The Evolution of Technology: Darwin’s Revolutionary Theories and Mendel’s Genetic Insights

The first two theories from Darwin were “Descent with Modification” and “Natural Selection” (Futuyma, 2017). Descent with modification refers to the idea that the Earth originated with one or a few forms of life and that all of today’s living organisms are descendants. Darwin is arguably the founding father of today’s evolutionary theory, natural selection being one of his greatest contributions. During Darwin’s time, evolution had been hypothesized, but natural selection was Darwin’s own conclusion based on personal travels around the world. The reasoning behind the idea of natural selection was more organisms are produced than will survive. Competition and a lack of resources will allow some organisms with certain characteristics or alleles to survive, and other organisms will not. In other words, nature will pick specific qualities to favor, and the organisms with the qualities or traits will survive and reproduce.

During the mid-1800s, Darwin’s idea caused great controversy as Darwin was one of the first to give an explanation of the history and development of species on Earth that went against the Bible and the idea of biblical creation. During approximately the same time, Gregor Mendel came up with the idea of “Particulate Inheritance” in 1866, based on his research with plants (Futuyma, 2017). Mendel’s theory was based on the idea that something was passed from parent to offspring. Before Mendel’s theory, the general principle was believed that traits were mixed together during reproduction. Mendel’s theorized offspring have a greater variation due to the random chance of inheriting certain aspects from the parent organisms, as opposed to all the genotypes being combined. Later, the ‘something’ that is passed down from parent to offspring was determined to be genes.

Evolutionary Progress: The Nexus of Technology, Historical Records, and Pioneering Theories

Giant steps in the research and understanding of evolution have occurred in recent years due to the increase in technological advancement. The human genome has been mapped, along with an increased understanding of DNA in many different species. By increasing the understanding of biology and molecular genetics, evolution has made great strides in advancement. The history of evolution is primarily based on fossils and physical records on Earth, as well as understanding the changes species have undergone by studying DNA. These two tools allow scientists to better understand the changes organisms have made, as well as predict future changes that may occur based on past evolutionary patterns (Futuyma, 2017). Continued advancement to the subfields of evolution will continue to be explored and expanded on as technology continues to advance.

Evolution means change over time. The theory of evolution is based on a combination of Charles Darwin’s ideas and Gregor Mendel’s theory of “Particulate Inheritance.” Darwin, Mendel, along with many others have helped to combine and establish the theory of evolution.

Scientists and philosophers have, at times, hypothesized and believed aspects of science that have been shown to be false. Though the initial ideas have not shown to be true, the inaccurate ideas have been able to be slightly changed or built on by new ideas. Each scientist was able to contribute to some part of the discovery and continued development in understanding evolution and the natural world.

Epigenetics: Deciphering the Environmental Imprints on Genetic Expression and Disease Emergence

The field of epigenetics is on the frontline of being explored. The field is growing, with many areas remaining unexplored and unexplained. The idea of epigenetics lies in DNA not changing, even with phenotype changes being passed down from parent to offspring. With continued research into understanding the unknowns that are passed onto offspring, more knowledge will be formed in understanding the degree of non-DNA inheritance. The human genome has been mapped, as well as many other organisms’ DNA being more fully understood (Futuyma, 2017). Due to these developments in genetics, research will continue to provide answers for alterations and phenotype distribution by nongenomic avenues. I believe the evidence will continue to give support in favor of environmental factors signaling specific alterations in gene expression, influencing phenotype expression.

I believe the environment is essential in influencing gene expression. The environment of the egg and sperm, the environment of the fetus during development, and the environment of a person throughout a lifetime all influence phenotypic expression. The environment is continually changing and is specifically unique to each organism. Changes to the environment could influence gene expression, ultimately influencing disease and inflammation. Continued research into epigenetics may find an underlying connection between increased inflammation in humans, causing allergies, asthma, and diseases (Potaczek et al., 2017). Inflammatory diseases such as allergies and diseases are more prevalent in today’s society; epigenetics may find a connection between environmental factors influencing gene expression, increasing one’s risk for development in the person’s lifetime. More research and advancement in epigenetics will answer some aspects of the theory and raise more questions as science continues to better understand the influences of gene expression.

Science and Process: The Continuous Journey of Understanding and Evolution in Learning and Medicine

The word science refers to the study and explanation of the Earth and the organisms inhabiting the Earth. Science observes, hypothesizes, tests, and explains aspects of the natural world. The ideas and theories of science are continually being added and expanded upon as new technology and explanations are made. The word process means steps built upon each other. A process is a series of steps needed in a certain order. Each step may not be important but is crucial for the overall idea or conclusion. Evolution is described as being both a science and a process for multiple reasons. Evolution is defined as a science as it explains and describes the history of the Earth. Evolution is the change of the Earth and species over time. Observations, hypotheses, explanations, tests, and theories have been made in regard to the evolutionary history and future of the Earth. Evolution is also a process, as evolution is a series of changes or continuous steps over time. During undergraduate courses, the terms science and process have been used in learning. One of the greatest things I have learned in understanding these terms is science is not ever complete.

New ideas, research, and technology are continuing to advance concepts and understanding in science. The basic theories tend to remain constant, but the expansion of understanding of science is never complete. Science is a process. The steps taken in understanding the natural world at times are shown to be inaccurate. The inaccurate steps are not useful, as it allows others to change and advance the ideas into more accurate advancement. The same can be applied to learning. Learning in undergraduate classes is never complete, but it is a process. Small amounts of information are at first given, and later, in higher-level classes, the information is expanded on. Learning at all levels is a process. As a currently certified nursing assistant, there is a great important understanding of the process of development and disease in residents. Not every patient will undergo the same specific steps, but the process tends to remain the same. As a student wishing to pursue a career in family medicine, science, and processes will be important in my future. Understanding the science and processes of an organism’s lifespans and diseases will be beneficial in a complete diagnosis and treatment.

Invisible Foundations: The Power of Inference in Scientific Understanding and Theory

As a science student, specifically a college freshman beginning undergraduate courses, it is important to understand the majority of scientific concepts are not able to be visibly proven. Instead of being able to prove a concept, science is able to show evidence of the existence of the concept. Many aspects of the natural world are important but not always visible or tangible. There are many theories in science that may not be able to be proven due to a lack of visible evidence. Many concepts in biology and chemistry courses are reliant on the consequences of invisible ideas. For example, the germ theory is a well-recognized theory in the scientific community. Humans are not capable of visibly seeing the germs or being able to visibly see the germs being passed from one organism to another organism. The inability of being able to view germ transfers does not make the theory incorrect. Many aspects of science are inferred based on other forms of evidence. Another example of a scientific theory that is not visible is gravity (Isn’t Evolution Just a Theory? 2007). Humans are not capable of being able to visibly see gravity, but humans are able to see the effects of gravity. If an object is dropped, the object will be pulled down to the Earth’s surface due to gravity. Many aspects of science are reliant on making inferences based on the evidence of changes (Futuyma, 2017).

Charles Darwin made inferences based on observations made in the natural world and conclusions drawn from the observations. Darwin was not able to see the beginning of time or how species underwent natural selection, but inferences were still able to be made based on the evidence available. As a student enrolled in zoology or botany courses, it is important to know that many theories are studied based on inferences, not visible causes. Very few instances allow science to be proven, but many theories have extended amounts of hypotheses, data, and observations in support of the conclusions. In zoology, when studying specific species, many inferences are made based on DNA and fossil records as to the relatedness of the species to other species. In botany, inferences are made as to the history of plants and the relatedness of plants. In botany and other biology classes, processes are studied at the cell and atomic levels. Many of these concepts are unable to be viewed, but the evidence is able to show the existence of the theories. Non-scientists use the word theory as a guess or idea; in science, the word theory is supported by endless amounts of observations and tests. As a beginning science student, it is important to understand that if something cannot be proven in science, not discount the idea as being untrue.

References

  1. Futuyma, D. J., & Kirkpatrick, M. (2017). Evolution. New York: Sinauer Associates, an imprint Of Oxford University Press.
  2. Gravitational. (2007, April) Evolution Primer #1: Isn’t Evolution Just a Theory? [Video File].
  3. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85diEXbJBIk&list=PL5270149AB
  4. Potaczek, D. P., Harb, H., Michel, S., Alhamwe, B. A., Renz, H., & Tost, J. (2017). Epigenetics And Allergy: From basic mechanisms to clinical applications. Epigenomics,9(4), 539-571. doi:10.2217/epi-2016-0162
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Technology Evolution: Insights into Invisible Evolution and Epigenetics. (2023, Aug 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/technology-evolution-insights-into-invisible-evolution-and-epigenetics/