SALINA, Kan. - For more than 100 years, mainstream science has embraced the basic tenets of Darwin's view that characteristics that increase an organism's ability to survive and reproduce will be passed from generation to generation. Scientists later demonstrated that stable, significant traits are indeed inherited in the DNA carried in parental genes on chromosomes and randomly distributed to offspring.
Characteristics that affect an organism's ability to adapt and survive in times of environmental change have been thought to arise by chance through random mutations in an organism's DNA.
However, this view could not explain how such mutations, which arise only rarely, help organisms of every size and variety adapt quickly enough through time. Nor could it explain how diseases that lead to a dramatic loss of survival -- such as diabetes, heart disease, autism, and schizophrenia -- persist in populations. Indeed, genes that directly contribute to these conditions have been difficult to find.