One hundred and sixty-one years ago Charles Darwin published Origin of Species. Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection has withstood the test of time as it has through the epochs of life on planet Earth. Natural selection is the process by which individuals of a species strive to survive and reproduce through traits inherited from parents. Inherited traits are known as the phenotype, the expression of the genetic code passed down by the parents. The genetic code of a species is known as the genotype. In the words of Darwin: “Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring. The offspring, also, will thus have a better chance of surviving, for, of the many individuals of any species which are periodically born, but a small number can survive.” Here we have Darwin’s insight into the individual’s relationship with other beings and mutual influence upon the environment. A phenotype is more than a trait expressed from the genetic code. Traits influence the behavior of other organism and the environment, the community as an ecosystem. As a young man, Darwin made a voyage on the Beagle as a naturalist. On this voyage he observed and wrote in his diary of the adventures to South America, rounding the Horn and landing at the Galapagos islands. He had gone riding on the plains of Argentina and saw strange prehistoric bones of beasts. He argued with Captain Fitzroy about his theories of evolution versus creation. Darwin’s wanderings in the Galapagos stirred up his ideas about the transmutation of species. The variation of finches adapted to specific niches on each island led him to formulate his idea of adaptive evolution. In his words, “that such colonists would be liable to modification;—the principle of inheritance still betraying their original birthplace.” Darwin rejected the principle of a separate creation of finches within the Galapagos. He was making the first step in finding the nature of evolution, that traits can change and modify in response to the environment. Darwin discovered polymorphism of these twenty-five species of finches with variation in beak morphology in a small geographic area. In February of 1865, Gregor Mendel an Augustinian monk presented his paper, “Experiments on Plant Hybridization” at two meetings of the Natural History Society of Brno. At the time, Darwin would not know of Gregor Mendel’s discovery of genes, dominant and recessive traits that would determine the fate of a species such as peas. His extensive experiments including 28,000 plants with seven different traits would provide Mendel with the laws of genetics.
Chandra Wickramasinghe and Fred Hoyle collaborated on the Hoyle–Wickramasinghe model of panspermia. No DNA or RNA has ever been found on extraterrestrial objects such as meteorites, cosmic dust, or asteroid impact craters. Precursors of life such as amino acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and fullerene have been detected in meteorites, asteroid impact craters, cosmic dust and in galactic clouds. As to whether life originates in outer space or on planet Earth is unknown. The discovery of precursors of life in outer space provides the possibility that life may exist outside of planet Earth extending throughout other galaxies. This discovery does not preclude the origination of life on planet Earth even if an extraterrestrial agent is involved in macroevolution. An agent such as C60 fullerene could aid in the recombination of damaged DNA as confirmed in scientific studies. C60 fullerene has been detected in the Magellanic Galactic clouds, Chondraceous Chondrites of Meteors and Asteroids, Asteroid impact zones and a multitude of sites from the Cretaceous Tertiary boundary layer. Macroevolution involves the recombination of genetic alleles from ancestors of similar genus and species succeeded by Natural Selection. The variation of species depends on mutations within the chromosomes of the ancestors. Random mutations from environmental effects on the genome have been proposed as the cause of the variation of species. Experiments to affect these variations by environmental hazards have never been found to result in beneficial mutations. Recently horizontal gene transfer has been found in vertebrates from Diptera, blood sucking insects. The Chicxulub impact destroyed the Ecosystem of the Dinosaurs but provided the agent of recombination to restore life to the survivors. C60 fullerene rained down on the devastated ruin, incorporating in the soil bacteria, fungi and newly emerging plants. Soon after the black clouds disappeared, insects would return to feed on the dying animals and corpses. Animals feeding on the carrion would ingest fullerene and receive a dose of foreign DNA from biting insects. This process would enable survivors of the impacts to generate new species. C60 fullerene recombines DNA and protects animals from UV radiation and toxins. C60 fullerene becomes an agent of origination through the process of Natural Selection.