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P. Lopez-Garcia (Paris-Sud), Molecular views on the microbial world challenge old misconceptions about biological evolution
6 December 2016 | 12 h 00 min - 13 h 00 min
Purificación Lopez-Garcia (Unité d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079, Université Paris-Sud)
Molecular views on the microbial world challenge old misconceptions about biological evolution
Life and (biological) evolution are indissoluble. Evolution is the outcome of both, Darwinian processes implying reproduction with variation upon which natural selection acts, and drift. These processes are universal and underlie the biological diversity patterns that we see today. Understanding the mechanisms governing biological evolution leads to refuting some pervasive misconceptions on biological evolution. Among the most obstinate are the idea that complexity necessarily increases along evolution, that simple equals primitive or that bacteria and other unicellular organisms are less evolved than animals and plants. I will argue against these false assumptions, which are largely based on our biased perception of the microbial world. These biases can now be largely overcome thanks to the use of molecular approaches. I will also comment on the limits of actualism (interpreting the past considering the present).