Funny thoughts on genetic information increase

Wesley R. Elsberry (
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 10:26:45 -0600 (CST)

Jason Bode wrote:

JB>With regards to Tim's statement, I'm curious if there are
JB>any mutations that result in an increase of genetic
JB>material and also are beneficial (so any increases can
JB>survive the natural selection process). That's what I meant
JB>by positive mutations. I've heard of beneficial mutations
JB>that are losses of genetic information, but no
JB>increases. When Tim said "They're out there" what I'd like
JB>is where exactly they are. I don't want to sound like a
JB>jerk, but I really like having things backed up with
JB>examples. A theory can be great, but w/o actual examples to
JB>support it, there is no logical support for it, as has been
JB>discussed here earlier. Thanks,

I can point out examples that get at least half-way. There
are observed cases of polyploidy, which increases genetic
information. Whether a polyploid descendent is considered to
benefit thereby may be arguable, but the information increase
is not. I have a post in DejaNews that you might want to look
at, <>. It
addresses the "nothing new" objection and shows that under
either Shannon-style definitions of information or a casual
definition of information the examples do show information
increase. That post was in a thread specifically to address
the question put to Richard Dawkins in the now-famous
interview. (See Dawkins' own extended answer to The Question
at <>.