Saturday, February 27, 2010

Red Queen Theory

It has long been assumed that changes in evolution take place due environmental factors. That is, when environmental conditions change, evolution will adapt an organism to allow it to survive. Researchers at the University of Liverpool have announced this may not be the case at all. They point to results from their genetic research that seem to indicate that inter-species competition plays a much stronger role.

The theory, first proposed as the "Red Queen Theory", formulates that most evolutionary changes are a result of a sort of "tit for tat" result of combative interactions with other organisms. Small but relatively rapid changes occur due to competition for survival in their environment. It suggests that all creatures are in a constant race for survival, evolving new ways to counter threats to their existence over time.

The "Red Queen Theory" is named after a passage in the Lewis Carrol story, Through the Looking Glass in which the Red Queen tells Alice "it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place".

This theory plays more into our currently accepted notions of Chaos Theory than the earlier view of Evolutionary Change, and can also be applied to other evolutionary systems as well, for example international arms races.

I will let you Google this one yourself if you want to know more...

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