Chinese Whispers and Mutational Meltdown
Mark Ridley

Introduction Mark Ridley, lecturer in the department of zoology at Oxford University, argues that the evolution of complex life presents a series of problems to the evolutionary theorist. "Mutational Meltdown" a term developed to describe the replication of errors throughout a reproductive lineage, is one of these challenges.

In this lecture for the Darwin@LSE lecture series, Ridley explains mutational meltdown through the analogy of the children's game, "Chinese whispers" or "rumours," whereby a message is repeated down a line of children, only to have been laughably corrupted by the time it has reached the end of the line. For Mark Ridley, the principles of this game can be used to explain the errors and the mysteries reproduced along a length of DNA.

Mark Ridley talks about sex and the mutational meltdown.

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This audio recording is taken from a lecture given at the LSE on January 22, 1998 as part of the Darwin@LSE lecture series.