In this informative podcast, James A. Shapiro, distinguished professor of microbiology at the University of Chicago, will discuss biological changes observed in organisms.
Shapiro has spent a lifetime considering bacterial genetics and he is one of the leading figures in the study of natural genetic engineering. His outspoken discussions and reporting on non-Darwinian evolution have created a buzz in the scientific community. In our podcast, Shapiro relates his extensive thoughts on the traditionally held theory of evolution. He provides thoughts on the concept that random mutations as well as natural selection are the core elements of evolution, and interestingly he breaks with some in the scientific community to go so far as to label this reductive thesis as decidedly incorrect. Shapiro confirms that active biological functions are taking place continually, and that organisms literally produce their own process of evolutionary change when they are in need of it.
Shapiro details processes with symbiotic organisms. He provides an overview of the microbiome and discusses cellular activity that motivates change in organisms and influences our biological world. He delves into the specifics regarding mitochondria and DNA sequences and talks about how differing organisms within our bodies can be of the same genome, yet have divergent characteristics.
Lastly, Shapiro talks about epigenetics, the intensive study of heritable changes in gene expression that do not require specific changes to the DNA sequence. His celebrated book, Evolution: A View from the 21st Century, covers many interesting topics within the area of biological discovery and is available now.