High Fidelity Devices in the Reproduction of DNA
The basic characteristics of genetic material that ensure the long term population fitness and biological evolution are its stability and variability in the course of reproduction. This apparent paradox ceases to be the paradox as soon as we start asking the questions when, how much and what kind of genetic variability is required for fitness. It seems trivial to speculate that a maximal genetic stability would be required in populations perfectly adapted to their environment, whereas an appreciable genetic variability would be required for adaptation to new selective growth conditions. As to the kind of genetic variability, both theoretical considerations (Leigh, 1973) and a few experimental approaches suggested that random mutagenesis is the main route in promoting fitness under selective conditions for vegetatively reproducing haploid organisms, such as bacteria (Cox and Gibson, 1974), whereas gene rearrangements through recombinations, but not random mutagenesis, is the effective mechanism of fitness-increasing variability in sexually reproducing diploid organisms, such as Drosophila (Ayala, 1967 and refs. therein).
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