Is randomness in evolution deliberate?

Ranjit Damodaran
3 min readJun 11, 2022
Photo by Lucas Kapla on Unsplash

Evolution has a way of bringing variations during each cycle of reproduction. This subtle change in the genome variation is brought in by mutation. Are these mutations random?

From early on, we are taught that changes to all genomes are brought by natural selection and mutation. Unfortunately, the mutation is often described as a mistake during reproductive processes.

Let's look at the definition of mutation

A Mutation occurs when a DNA gene is damaged or changed in such a way as to alter the genetic message carried by that gene. Mutation can be caused by chemicals, radiation, sunlight, or spontaneous.

If the evolution is more than a billion years old, it has perfected the evolution to form life on earth. So why is it mutation error-prone? Why can’t mutation be an error or designed to behave the way it should?

There is something more than what meets our eyes. It is tough to fathom that we are a byproduct of random errors during DNA sequencing.

Why cannot randomness in evolution by design? First, there is something in our replication that introduces randomness deliberately. It is designed to make sure that we produce random mutations. Our evolution is not designed to be deterministic, and it has added a bit of a deliberate layer of randomness.

Many recent studies corroborate non-randomness. In a controlled lab experiment conducted by the University of California, Davis, and the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany, the plant Arabidopsis thaliana has a way to protect a certain section of its genome from mutation. Mutation frequency is reduced by half inside gene bodies and by two-thirds in essential genes. As per Weigel scientific director at Max Plank University, that

“The plant has evolved a way to protect its most important places from mutation”.

It is not a pure sense of randomness, there is an element of guided randomness.

If we look around, randomness is everywhere, and our nature is designed to have both deterministic and randomness. It is a way nature makes sure everyone gets their due and brings a balance. Our entire ecosystem is designed not for the benefit of a specific actor, and it is designed to have a balance. Our ecosystem distributes the gains from the process using randomness.

The system that is built ridged needs to be changed by some element of randomness. It is designed to introduce a tiny fraction of randomness that brings in the changes.

We can learn from our evolution. We know that our social media is designed to be deterministic and acts as an echo chamber. It is because the social media platform is designed to see the feed that we like. It acks like a walled echo chamber, without any space for an alternative narrative.

Like our nature, if we can introduce some randomness to the social media algorithm. It will be beneficial to introduce ideas that do not confirm our bias.



Ranjit Damodaran

Tech enthusiast, Project Management. Interested in Complexity science, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Human Nature, Behavioral Economics, almost anything.