Harvard Professor George Church has brought about a new technology known as the evolution machine. Basically what it does is to go through many samples and test for efficacy very rapidly. The effect of this is to eliminate many of the "useless" combinations that current trial and error have to deal with.
Of course, all of this assumes that consciousness plays no role...hmmm. I'm not so sure if I were a betting man that it would be a wise bet. Perhaps that would be a good adaptation of Pascal's Wager, except that you substitute "Consciousness" for God.
Anyway, musing aside, here is the link, from New Scientist Magazine:
It is a beautiully written article describing a great scientific development. Almost a perfect example of scientific writing for common man.
One is forced to wonder though if what our ancient texts describe as the soul progressing through many lives and learning new things in every life, they may actually be describing the journey of Human DNA.