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volution is the cornerstone of modern biology It unites all the fields of biology under one theoretical umbrella It is not a difficult concept but very few people -- the majority of biologists included -- have a satisfactory grasp of it One common mistake is believing that species can be arranged on an evolutionary ladder from bacteria through lower animals to higher animals and finally up to man Mistakes permeate popular science expositions of evolutionary biology Mistakes even filter into biology journals and texts For example Lodish et al in their cell biology text proclaim It was Charles Darwins great insight that organisms are all related in a great chain of being In fact the idea of a great chain of being which traces to Linnaeus was overturned by Darwins idea of common descent Misunderstandings about evolution are damaging to the study of evolution and biology as a whole People who have a general interest in science are likely to dismiss evolution as a soft science after absorbing the pop science nonsense that abounds The impression of it being a soft science is reinforced when biologists in unrelated fields speculate publicly about evolution This is a brief introduction to evolutionary biology I attempt to explain basics of the theory of evolution and correct many of the misconceptions Evolution is a change in the gene pool of a population over time A gene is a hereditary unit that can be passed on unaltered for many generations The gene pool is the set of all genes in a species or population The English moth Biston betularia is a frequently cited example of observed evolution evolution a change in the gene pool In this moth there are two color morphs light and dark H B D Kettlewell found that dark moths constituted less than 2 of the population prior to 1848 The frequency of the dark morph increased in the years following By 1898 the 95 of the
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