MathBench > Environmental Science

Evolved Immunity

Inheritance

What good is money if you canít pass it down to your kids, right? (Especially those hard-working ones studying biology in collegeÖ) Itís the same with survival strategies Ė you gotta be able to pass them down to your kids, or your kids will get wiped out. Zucchini hoppers, like most organisms alive on earth, are not actually very attentive parents. They donít teach their kids or raise them or even come to visit. Once laid, the eggs are on their own. So, the primary way that survival strategies get passed between parents and offspring is through genetic material Ė DNA. If a parent has a gene that helps it survive, that gene can get passed down to its offspring, making them more likely to survive as well.

So in our garden-world, immune hoppers beget (mostly) immune children. Every time an immune hopper survives, it fills the world with more immune hopper babies.

But if kids canít inherit the characteristics that help their parents survive, then no evolution can take place. And in fact there are plenty of characteristics that help organisms survive, but don't get passed on to their kids. I call this the Schwarzenegger effect: no matter how much body-building Arnold Schwarzenegger does, his big muscles will not get passed on to his kids, so he is not contributing to the evolution of the human species. Sorry, Arnold.