PerspectiveCell Biology

Irremediable Complexity?

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  12 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6006, pp. 920-921
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198594

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Many of the cell's macromolecular machines appear gratuitously complex, comprising more components than their basic functions seem to demand. How can we make sense of this complexity in the light of evolution? One possibility is a neutral ratchet-like process described more than a decade ago (1), subsequently called constructive neutral evolution (2). This model provides an explanatory counterpoint to the selectionist or adaptationist views that pervade molecular biology (3).