Native St. Louisan Jonathan Losos is a Harvard University biology professor and director of Losos Laboratory at the university. He recently wrote the book “Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance and the Future of Evolution.”
The book follows researchers across the world who are using experimental evolutionary science to learn more about our role in the natural world.
On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Losos joined host Don Marsh to discuss the science behind evolution and what’s changing in today’s world.
“The scientific evidence that evolution has occurred is overwhelming,” Losos said. “We have ample evidence in the fossil record that documents one species changing to another. We can see that evolution happening today, before our eyes, and we can do experiments on evolution and see it occur.”
On the day-to-day, Losos said scientists are able to see environmental pressures that spur natural selection and evolution, giving the example of antibiotic-resistant microbes. In humans, it’s not so palpable.
“One could argue humans aren’t evolving so much anymore,” Losos said. “The reason for that is that for evolution by natural selection to occur, individuals with particular genetic variants must leave more offspring in the next generation. For example, if individuals with blue eyes produce more offspring, that would lead to evolution. But the way our culture has come to be, the link between physical characteristic and reproductive success is weak. Human evolution isn’t happening so much anymore.”
Listen to the full discussion about evolution and how it impacts the world we live in today here:
What: St. Louis County Library Presents Jonathan Losos
When: Thursday, August 17 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: St. Louis County Library Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis MO. 63131
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.