Radioactive Elements and ...Evolution ?!

i know that some people might think that this idea is really a stretch …but it seems to me that this fact:

can help to explain random genetic mutations that occur in living creatures (and their offspring) on this planet. and of course, in conjunction with the principle of natural selection (the most fit organisms are the ones that survive to pass on their genes)… random mutations help the process of evolution right along. is radioactivity (very generally speaking) one of the underlying principles of the evolution of species? do you think this would hold for species on other planets? (i do assume that life exists on other planets… but that it probably won’t be discovered any time soon.)

your thoughts?

i’m not doubting that’s a part of it, darkmagus… but there’s other than the radiation from the heavy stuff that makes it to our planet and causes mutations…
also, transcription errors could just as well occur without radiation interfering… our cells are not flawless…

radioactivity is definately quite common in the universe, so, yeah, why not? all we need is some good conditions, but hey, those don’t have to be the same as here, …
life may exist on a scale and form far beyond our imagination


Most mutations - the vast majority, I think - occur as a result of DNA copying errors.

hmm… i didn’t know that. but don’t you think its also likely that radioactivity plays at least a minor role in the overall ‘process of evolution’? i’m obviously not any type of genetics master! :sunglasses:

I’m sure it plays a role, but I suspect not a very big one. Furthermore, it’s probably seldom a positive one, because radiation physically damages the DNA molecule .

cool …thanks guys. i’ll be doing some further reading! :sunglasses:

I work at a nuclear power plant everyday (sellifield), believe me radioactive elements tend to hinder evolution rather than develop it. Yet some isotopes are natural an less harmful then others, even helping things along at times. It takes alot of energy to change complex compounds into others (which go on and on to fundamental life developing acids) so its a interesting theory anyways darkmagus.

i was totally shooting from the hip on this one …one night i was just spacing out thinking about the natural radioactivity on our planet (and that which comes to us from outer space) and i made the (not so strong) link to radioactivity’s effect on DNA.

its weird how connections are made in folks’ minds. some are good, some are not. the good ones can be very novel and interesting. i think that that sort of “associative thinking” has lead to some major MAJOR scientific/philosophical/theoretical breakthroughs… so it never hurts to throw one out there.

sure, magus, no problem… the rest of us will be here to show you the enlightened path :wink: