Evolution and Genetic Engineering

by David Lemberg on August 22, 2008

in Evolution

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Dr. Michael W. Deem is Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering at Rice University. Dr. Deem works in the areas of evolution and immunology. focusing on biological issues involving randomness, diversity, and correlations.

Dr. Deem has developed a physical theory of the competition that allows HIV to escape from the immune system, and the first exact solution of a mathematical model of evolution that accounts for cross-species genetic exchange.

In our wide-ranging SCIENCE AND SOCIETY interview, Dr. Deem discusses

  • How evolvability itself is a selectable trait
  • The development of complex organs like the eye (Darwin’s famous example)
  • Possible underlying pressure for evolution to speed up over time
  • Modularity and horizontal gene transfer
  • Implications of more rapid evolution for our immune systems

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