1. I accept that I am under the control of a higher power (Muppet).

Sexual selection can promote genetic diversity

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070328073301.htm - Why Some People Are More Attractive Than Others'

> why are individuals so different?

I had wondered about this too. They found:

Using a computer model to map the spread of genes in a population, Professor Petrie demonstrated that the tendency towards reduction in genetic diversity caused by sexual selection is outweighed by the maintenance in greater genetic diversity generated by mutations affecting DNA repair.

Professor Petrie, of the Evolution and Behaviour Research Group in the School of Biology at Newcastle University, said: 'We started this research ten years ago and our model has now produced a good fit with what we observe in terms of genetic variation, which leads us to believe that our theory is correct.' 'We find that sexual selection can promote genetic diversity despite expectations to the contrary.'

It's fascinating. The objective functions in genetic programming don't usually allow such diverse outcomes. It reminds me somewhat of the idea that search engines need to throw in some random results or otherwise the results will be too specialized.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 29th, 2007 12:18am
This is pretty much the theory advanced by Geoffrey Miller in 'The Mating Mind'. It's nice to get corroboration.
Permalink Billx 
March 29th, 2007 6:58am
We've got to be careful with the terminology here. Sexual selection increases the genetic variety between individual offspring (the primary purpose being apparently to resist viral enfection) but will lead to a regression to the norm amongst the population.

One way sexual reproduction can increase genetic variety within a species is by allowing it to survive longer.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
March 29th, 2007 11:53am
From what I can see from the blurb Miller is talking about something very different from what the OP is.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
March 29th, 2007 11:54am
Geoffrey Miller's thesis in Mating Minds was quite different. He did say/assume sexual selection caused narrow genetic variation of one very specific feature -- the mind.

The variance in human intelligence is quite narrow (considering how dumb other animals are).

Perhaps humans are so different (the title in the OP link is kinda off) is because of the population explosion over the last 10,000 years. Sexual selection hasn't had that much of a chance to filter out the uglies when even they can survive to breed.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 29th, 2007 2:32pm
The beautiful people should get a different minimum wage?
Permalink JoC 
March 29th, 2007 5:50pm

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