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Why is it inevitable that evolution by mutations alone should be a common cause of evolutionary change in most natural populations? And do you expect mutation-driven evolution to be more common in typical protists or typical prokaryotes? Why?

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What other causes of evolutionary change are you comparing mutations to? If you get right down to it, every change is a mutation of some sort... –  MattDMo Apr 1 at 21:15
I edited your title because of the close votes- hope this helps - feel free to change this back. –  shigeta May 25 at 4:05

3 Answers 3

Your question, as I understand it, concerns the relative role (compare to natural selection and drift probably) of mutation in evolution. But evolution is not one process. Mutation and natural selection are processes that influence populations in very a different manners. At first sight, it seems to me that it does not make sense to weight the important of mutation versus other processes such as selection. But again, in what term would weight these processes?

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Prokaryotes have very high reproductive rate. So, they develop mutants far more faster than multicellular eukaryotes.

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Your question doesn't make a lot of sense.

Mutation is the process whereby new alleles are created, by the DNA chemically changing its sequence. Natural selection is the process where in a population, alleles change frequency over time due to differing survival rates. (And there are lots of other kinds of selection, and allele frequencies can change just due to chance, too)

So I don't think "evolution by mutation alone" makes much sense. In sexually reproducing eukaryotes, variety can be created by mixing and matching different alleles in the population in different combinations, which isn't something that prokaryotes really do, so I guess that's a difference in the importance of mutations between sexually reproducing eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

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