Changes in the heritable attributes of populations of organisms over time. Major mechanisms include drift, natural selection, mutation, and gene flow (migration).

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
0answers
13 views

What is the probability of fixation for a mutant under fluctuating selection?

Here is an answer which explain how one can model the frequency of an allele that is under fluctuating selection (selection that varies through time). Not, thinking about fluctuating selection, there ...
7
votes
1answer
86 views

What are parental antagonism & parental conflict?

I've been reading the chapter by Haig et al in The Genetics and Biology of Sexual Conflict. I think this chapter has them quite unclearly defined. Could anyone describe these two phenomenon more ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Modeling inclusive fitness

Consider a population of two altruist with coefficient of relatedness $r$. The average inclusive fitness of this population will be $w_{0} + br -c$. Like in this example, assignment of inclusive ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

Why do spiders make their web near the ceiling and near a light source?

Why do spiders make their webs near the ceiling and near light sources ? Is their an advantage for spiders in doing that? For example do they catch more insects when their web is near a light source ...
5
votes
1answer
54 views

Do we instinctially interpret birdsongs as a sign that there are no predators present?

I was outside today thinking how nice it was to hear the birds back from winter when I started thinking about the fact that we like bird song. It makes us happy in a very basic level, the sort of ...
4
votes
1answer
33 views

Why do plants produce so many hybrids as a kingdom?

Why do plants produce so many hybrids? I have read that they are the largest kingdom of organisms to do so. Does this have something to do with polyploidy events?
5
votes
2answers
996 views

What has caused life to choose this unfathomably tiny subset of all possible proteins?

I wonder why life uses the particular proteins that it does, about 10^6 different proteins, I think? Evolution cannot explain it because the number of possible proteins is far far too large to ever ...
1
vote
2answers
436 views

Did cats evolve from monkeys ? or vice versa?

Did cats evolve from monkeys ? or vice versa ? How similar are the genes of cats and monkeys ? What is the proof that they are related or that they are not related ? Most monkeys climb in trees and ...
10
votes
2answers
346 views

Are there differences in DNA between humans of today and humans from 2000 years ago?

Are there any significant differences in our genome compared to the genes of our ancestors from 1000-2000 years ago? And if there are significant differences, do they result in significant ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Simplest Biological Organism? [duplicate]

What is the simplest biological organism from which a DNA sample has been or could be obtained? Could the resulting DNA be processed and examined in such a way that the resulting information would ...
5
votes
2answers
40 views

Comparative Genomics

Are orthologs and paralogs examples of conserved genes? Orthologs are the genes or DNA that is present in 2 different species, having once been present in a common ancestor. It comes about by a ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Before Evolution was proposed by Charles Darwin, what were the leading secular theories to explain how life developed? [closed]

Outside of evolution, what were the leading scientific schools of thought that Charles Darwin contented with when he published his evolution theory as way of natural selection in 1859?
4
votes
1answer
61 views

How does the value of K determine number of local optima in NK model?

BACKGROUND The NK model of fitness landscape considers N states which can interact with K other states. For example N is the total number of genes in a haploid genome and K is the number of other ...
13
votes
2answers
166 views

Are there single-celled organisms that have evolved from multi-cellular ones?

I'm reading this paper about transmissible cancer cells in clams (Metzger et al. 2015) and I was wondering if there are any single-cellular organisms that are around today that are suspected as having ...
7
votes
2answers
213 views

Could cancer be in itself a evolutionary process?

Could cancer be in itself a evolutionary process? Maybe in some way could it be a process of variation? Or would this idea be completely without support, if so, why? I don't mean that each case ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

Human evolution: Where *exactly* did the first human come from, whose parents were not?

Layman here. So I have never really quite understood this facet of human evolution, (or any other for that matter), in that, I understand the evolutionary process, but I get lost on the 'border' ...
6
votes
2answers
102 views

Intuitive explanation for Kin- and Group- selection

It is known from theoretician in the field of kin selection that kin selection (inclusive fitness theory) and group selection are actually two sides of the same coin. In other words, these two ...
4
votes
2answers
375 views

What are the ESSs among hawks, doves, retaliators, bully and prober retaliators? [closed]

In his book "The Selfish Gene", Richard Dawkins says that retaliator emerges as an evolutionary stable strategy. But I think dove is also a kind of retaliator and so if dove increases, the hawks and ...
2
votes
2answers
372 views

Viral Mutation Mechanism

I think I have a wrong concept about viral mutation process. First of all what is mutation actually? I mean, I know it's a sudden change in DNA, happening when subjected to mutagenic agents. But can ...
2
votes
2answers
65 views

Duration of selection and survival of the fittest

I feel there is a part of the theory of evolution I'm not understanding correctly or maybe I'm missing it, but would like cleared up. From what I understand, over time random mutations occur which in ...
6
votes
2answers
166 views

Hamilton's inclusive fitness approach

The underlying intuition of Hamilton's model of inclusive fitness is that we should study social behaviors from the point of view of actors -- rather than the recipients. To build his model, Hamilton ...
2
votes
2answers
97 views

Why asexual reproduction?

When I took a course on genetics and evolution, I learned that recombination and sexual reproduction is advantageous compared to asexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction allows more combinations of ...
4
votes
2answers
56 views

How can (or did) Deinococcus radiodurans continue to evolve after developing resistance to mutation?

Deinococcus radiodurans has a remarkable ability to resist damage to its DNA due to radiation, dehydration or (to my knowledge) any other source. It keeps multiple copies of its genome and has a ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Homology ratio comparison between different species

I found the following homology ratio: protein coding genes of the organism with an homolog in mouse / all protein coding genes in the organism I have done this for all protein coding genes between ...
7
votes
1answer
88 views

Genotype to phenotype map and the G-matrix

Suppose I have a genotype-phenotype map defined by the matrix $\mathbf{Z}$:         The scalars $G,P$ represent the number of genotypes and traits, respectively. ...
2
votes
2answers
79 views

Definitions of robustness and canalization

The concepts of robustness and canalization are fashionable today in the biology literature. However, I am not sure of their definitions and I am not sure either that all authors actually use the same ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does ear wax taste sour?

Why does ear wax taste sour? I am interested in both the physiochemical mechanisms and the evolutionary reasons behind the sour taste of earwax.
3
votes
1answer
36 views

Richard Goldschmidt's “systemic mutations”?

[TLDR] I dont understand the fault people had/have with Richard Goldscmidt's concept of systemic mutations [/TLDR] As a preface, I am a undergrad biology student, so sorry if this is a "Stupid ...
6
votes
1answer
111 views

Why do women live longer than men?

According to Wikipedia and many other sources, women live substancially longer than men (over 5 years in the U.S.). Men can reproduce for much longer than women. So longer living men would have the ...
3
votes
0answers
29 views

Why do naked mole rats live in colonies with a queen?

What was the evolutionary advantage in having queens? Is it because the ones that had queen like tendencies in the new environment had kids that cooperated better giving higher chance of survival of ...
35
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do men have nipples?

I'd be tempted to call nipples in men vestigial, but that suggests they have no modern function. They do have a function, of course, but only in women. So why do men (and all male mammals) have them? ...
1
vote
0answers
36 views

Selection Pressure on Orca Whale Coloration

What is the proposed selection pressure that leads to the distinctive coloration of Orca whales? I can find nothing in the literature.
3
votes
2answers
305 views

What are evolutionary implications of contraception and reduced childhood mortality rates worldwide?

I've heard the following idea this morning: Before the introduction of contraception, humans conceived quite a lot of babies (there was little to do to avoid that), but the population was kept in ...
10
votes
3answers
147 views

Is there a fundamental reason that plants cannot fix their own nitrogen?

Plants must have nitrogen to grow. According to the answer to this question, there are no plants can fix their own nitrogen (without the help of bacteria). Plants get their nitrogen in the form of ...
6
votes
2answers
549 views

Why aren't we ambidextrous?

It seems so simple that if my brain can tell my right hand to do something, then it should be able to tell equally well to the left ? This seems like a pretty major evolutionary advantage. Why haven't ...
3
votes
1answer
163 views

Differences between Gradualism and Uniformitarianism

From what I understand, gradualism is the idea that small changes affect species over time. Uniformitarianism argues that the same processes that occurred in the past are the same as those in the ...
43
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are there no wheeled animals?

In physics, "almost everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few unimportant holes." (See Jolly.) Therefore, on Physics SE, people are veering off into different directions: ...
1
vote
1answer
100 views

What is the relationship between radiation and evolution?

There is always a certain amount of background radiation present, for example due to ionizing radiation from the sun and other stars. Also certain materials like granite may emit relatively large ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

Do all kind of unicellular asexual reproductions let mutations happen, resulting in evolution?

I know about fission, an unicellular asexual reproduction method, where the mother cell splits into two daughter cells. Does this kind of asexual reproductions let mutations happen, leading to much ...
4
votes
2answers
72 views

Evolution theory - roses spikes - being more bulgy doesn't give you advantage

I've seen spike, huge spike. And I thought that development of such spikes could be contrary to the evolution theory. Being „little more” spiky doesn’t give you any advantage... So those ...
3
votes
1answer
242 views

Is greed an evolved trait?

I am not a biologist, but I am fascinated by evolution. I was watching the news this morning and, as so often is the case, there was a news story about a corrupt politician who was accepting ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

Mathematical models of lineage selection

I'm interested in the concept of lineage selection (Aboitiz, 1991) as an explanation for why traits would be selected for that enhance the rate at which evolution can occur, rather than directly ...
18
votes
2answers
535 views

How is menstruation not suicide in the wild?

Watch any wilderness special for more than a few minutes, and you'll notice a familiar pattern: when a predator catches the scent of blood on the wind, the hunt is on. Wounded animals make the best ...
3
votes
1answer
52 views

What color was the most recent common ancestor of all swans?

Was the most recent common ancestor of all swans black, or white, or some other color? How do we know, and how certain can we be?
15
votes
9answers
5k views

Why didn't the polar bear change its color from white to black during evolution to absorb heat?

Polar bears are white in color and white color is not a good absorbant of heat. Why then didn't they evolve a black color to absorb more heat?
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it known how the first viruses formed?

The oldest known virus is known to have infected prehistoric insects 300 million years ago. A virus is basically a parasitic strand if DNA or RNA encapsulated in a protein coat. It enters cells by ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

What factors, other than its homochirality, make our “brand” of biology unique? [closed]

If humans were to discover organisms on another planet, it is supposed that (unless both we and they were seeded by the same source) we would have nothing to fear from alien pathogens, as they would ...
16
votes
2answers
800 views

Do plant-animal cross races exist?

Plants and animals have the following distinct properties: Plants live from solar energy by photosynthesis, they use solar energy to make sugar and oxygen out of carbon dioxide, which gives them ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

How and why did mammals go back to the oceans?

If I understand evolutionary biology correctly, mammals first evolved on land as small, rodent-like creatures, in a time when reptiles were dominant on land. Eventually, they diversified into the ...
11
votes
2answers
305 views

Why, specifically, does each generation, on average, improve upon the design of the species rather than degrade it?

In every non-life example I can envision, a copy of a copy is always a degraded or less pure version of the original unless some outside influence acts to correct the copy back toward the ideal ...