Speciation in two generations

I just want everybody to know that speciation can happen very rapidly, just in two generations. There’s no need for million of years (as Darwin stated) in order to have new species. What makes this rapid speciation possible? Epigenetics, of course.

I don’t want to be offensive or impolite, I’m just very interested in epigenetics, genetics and molecular biology. I realized that there’s no no need for genetic changes in order to get new species. Alternative splicing (AS) makes this possible. By this sophisticated mechanism the cell is able to produce thousands of different protein isoforms without changes in DNA sequence. This is why the AS is the most significant cellular mechanism regarding the rich biodiversity in the wild.

The AS is controlled by epigenetic mechanisms and factors. Without epigenetic markers the cell will turn to undifferentiated state, a pluripotent stem cell that has no programming for differentiation or a task. So, without epigenetic information the cell will not produce any proteins. In human genome, there are only ~19,600 DNA strands used for protein encoding (less than that of an Earthworm) but the number of different protein isoforms in a human body is up to several millions. This is why human protein encoding DNA strands don’t tolerate mutations; this area is perfectly organized biological information.

Transcription is also totally controlled by the epigenetic mechanisms and factors. Transcription factors bind to methylation dependent areas called promoters and enhancers. Transcription factors are made up of proteins themselves so they are also results of alternative splicing. Other epigenetic mechanisms, such as histone epigenetic markers and non coding RNA molecules affect the transcription. The splicing itself is also controlled by epigenetic information profiles. Seems that the role of DNA is very passive and it has no control over cellular processes. Btw, some clever evolutionary biologists have also understood the passive role of the DNA, for example Denis Noble (keywords: Denis Noble DNA passive data base)

Here’s the study telling about rapid speciation:

What do you think? How much of the observed biodiversity is based on the alternative splicing?

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None. Now, this new species you’re talking about, if it turns out to be an actual new species, arose by hybrid speciation, which is in fact the only known mechanism by which speciation can happen in a couple of generations. It’s most common in plants; by one estimate, 5% of speciation events in plants happen in that way. But it has exactly nothing to do with alternative splicing or epigenetic inheritance.

Nor are there millions of functional alternative splicings in humans. There are plenty of nonfunctional splicing errors, though. And there are a few known genes in which there are two functional splice variants, MYC for example.


The word “epigenetics” is neither mentioned nor inferred in the study you attached. You seem to be attempting to build a case for pluripotent stem species, but that would be very different from species interbreeding.


That’s a strong claim and easily debunked:

“Our findings uncover the importance of AS in diversifying gene function and regulating phenotypic variation.”


“The combination of large datasets, novel methods and conditions explored promises to provide a much greater understanding of the role of RNA processing response in human phenotypic variation.”

I’m still dubious. How many of these isoforms have clear, detected function in actual organisms? How many of them are expressed at a frequency compatible with function?

Most importantly, how does this support your claim of speciation through epigenetic inheritance?

Try this one.


That is a wonderful article!!!

What about polyploidy?

Do you know of any speciation by polyploidy within a species? I can only think of allopolyploidy, resulting from hybridization of two species.

Off-hand, no, just vague memories about goatsbeards. I’d have to check.

Hmmm. Here’s a review claiming that autopolyploidy is approximately as common as allopolyploidy, with either resulting in fast speciation. Of course that’s in angiosperms, and selfing is a big help. It would be difficult in any obligate outcrosser.