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LEC4- Some Biological Background Jan 27 2009?

Course Code
Phil Serchuk

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LEC4: Some Biological Background
Jan, 27th, 2009
! best way to approach biology from a economic point of view
Evolutionary Biology
! human being, grass, bacteria etc. all come from a common ancestor
! mitochrondria is only contributed by the female line
! memetics: idea and cultural items are subject to natural selection
! good ideas and bad ideas are subject to judgement by ppl on whether they are
good or bad based on rational reasoning
! but similar to music, some ideas are better than others at hooking onto
people's brains
! what may become a popular idea may not be what is reasonably the best idea
! natural selection is a mechanism that can be applied to multiple ideas
A Paradox
! people are actually not rationally self-interested
Theories about the benefits of sex
! when environment change, sexual procreation species are better equipped to
respond in a successful way than parthenogenesis
! if we switch from the view of the person to the genes, then activities in which is
self-destructive to the person may help propagate the genes
! Red Queen Hypothesis: we make it harder for parasite at every generation
The ubiquity of conflict in biology
! ppl. are able to survive better by cooperating just as in cells which come together
to make up one person (they give up their autonomy)
Type of parental involvement
! r strategy: spread a lot of gametes (1/ 1 million may survive -ie. male)
! k strategy: very few offspring but the ones that are produced are given lots of care
(2/10 may survive ie. female)
Net Effects of Sexual Reproduction
! without any specific mechanism, the pure mathematics of the (random) process
creates complexity
! sexual cells are separate from somatic cells and their special function is to keep all
your genes intact
! when somatic cells act like sex cells it turns into cancer
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