Haldane Lecture 2020- Jonathan Pettitt

Non-Darwinian routes to the evolution of life’s complexity 14 June, 2022

Ri, 21 Albemarle St., London, W1S 4BS

General Information

Jonathan Pettitt will present the 2020 Genetics Society Haldane Lecture at the Royal Institution from 7:00pm – 8:30pm on Tuesday 14th June 2022:

“Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?”  Non-Darwinian routes to the evolution of life’s complexity.

Image credit: Jonathan Pettitt, adapted from Ernst Haekel, Kunstformen der Natur (1904), plate 14: Peridinea

Talk description: The standard view of evolution is that complex living things arise through gradual refinements of simpler precursors; each successive version becoming better adapted through natural selection, leading to exquisitely refined, complex mechanisms.  But there is another route for life to evolve complexity. Rather than being fine-tuned creations of natural selection, complex features can arise simply because biology is messy and noisy.  In this talk, Professor Jonathan Pettitt will explain how living systems tend to make simple mechanisms more complicated than they need to be. He will show how such ‘unnecessary complexity’ can both restrict and expand an organism’s evolutionary potential.

Theatre attendance:
To enable the Ri to meet current regulations, tickets for theatre are limited and must be booked in advance via Eventbrite.

Non-Genetics Society members – £16,
Concession – £10,
Ri members and Ri patrons – £7.
Genetics Society members – FREE using the secret code emailed to members. Please, contact theteam with your member’s number if you did not receive the code.

Remote attendance:
To receive a link to the live event, please book in advance using Eventbrite, following the instructions.

If you are a member and do not receive the email, please, contact Theteam with your membership number.

There will be a drinks reception for members from 6pm.  We look forward to seeing you there!