Life operates in small steps
The generations of mutations for
natural selection, the breakdown of organic food molecules to generate
energy to do work are all examples of small steps that together
form stable cellular structure and functions. For instance, respiration
is a process where sugar is oxidized to generate the energy currency
ATP in cells to be used as fuel for almost all cellular processes.
To avoid releasing too much energy in one step (like the heat of
a burning fire), cellular respiration divides the oxidation into
three dozen steps, each step extracting a minuscule portion of the
available energy from a sugar (or fat or protein) molecule. Cellular
respiration comprises only a small portion of all cellular reactions
(metabolism) and it is the thousands of small steps that together
constitute a stable cell.
Similarly, evolution proceeds in
small steps and the number of trails (mutations) and time available
is literally enormous allowing for successful adaptation of a species
to changes in the environment.
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Copyright © 1999-2011
Lukas K. Buehler