The theory by which mutations in the genetic code lead to differences from the previous phenotype that, should they be advantageous to an organism's survival to reproductive age, may be passed on to offspring.

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31 views

Why not frozen evolution? [on hold]

I'm not sure if you have heard of it. It is a theory proposed by the best Czech evolutionary biologist (even though it disproves the selfish gene and darwinism for sexual species :), but it is not ...
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13 views

Proteins denaturation and natural selections

Which are the advantages, in terms of natural selection, of the denaturation of the proteins during the food preparation? Or in other terms, is it more important the reductions of bacteria in the food ...
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9 views

How did the double circulatory system evolve from the single circulatory system

I already learned how the mammal circulatory system (double circulatory system) evolved from the reptilian circulatory system. How did natural selection evolve the reptilian circulatory system and the ...
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2answers
33 views

Is it possible there were multiple origins of life? And, if so, why did the one which became the common ancestor between all organisms prevail?

I have learned that all currently-living organisms come from a common ancestor, which I theoretically understand. However, my professor in a class mentioned that there is a chance that there were ...
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3answers
73 views

Why didn't humans evolve to reproduce identical twins all the time?

According to the selfish gene theory, it seems like because identical twins sometimes get produced, a mutation to a gene that says, "if you have an identical twin, be fully altruistic towards them" ...
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228 views

Is our genome decaying (see “Genetic Entropy”), and, if so, is this evidence for our genome being “young”?

In the book Genetic Entropy & the Mystery of the Genome the author says that the genome cannot be old because the genome is "decaying". Decay is a very subjective term, but in this case he means ...
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37 views

Did modern alligators and caimans come from prehistoric crocodiles?

I know that crocodilians have been here since the time of the dinosaurs. I also know that crocodiles came first. But alligators have been here for a good 37 million years. Did alligators come from ...
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2answers
1k views

Is Mutation Theory still “valid” for complex organisms?

I'm afraid like most people I suffer from having learned "A History of Evolution" in school, rather than cutting to the chase and learning the actual "up to date" version of the subject. (Imagine if ...
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28 views

Name/Examples of Traits whose benefit is non-obvious and/or which evolve despite apparent mal-adaptivness?

I'm a graduate student in cognitive science doing work on people's explanations and learning, particularly having to do with natural selection. Often, students misunderstand natural selection as a ...
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1answer
30 views

If a trait does not appear to be advantageous to organism, why does the organism have it? [duplicate]

Why do organisms have some traits that do not appear to have any evolutionary advantage?
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1answer
56 views

Queller's 1985 version of Hamilton's rule

Queller 1985 ("Kinship, reciprocity and synergism in the evolution of social behavior") provides a generalization of Hamilton's rule that allows for non-additivity. To accomplish that, Queller writes ...
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2answers
49 views

How to compute the regression of individual fitness on individual phenotype

Consider a population structured in groups of two individuals. Individuals' interactions follow an additive prisoner's dilemma: \begin{array}{c |c |c|} & C & D \\ \hline \text{Cooperate (} C ...
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19 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 ...
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1answer
67 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 ...
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97 views

Current Trend in Evolution of Human Intelligence

Up front, I am specifically not interested in philosophical or ethical considerations re Eugenics and related concepts. In an effort to receive a concise answer I'll post a narrowly defined question ...
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48 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.
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87 views

Expected time for a neutral allele to reach a frequency of $p_1$ when starting at frequency $p_0$

Kimura and Ohta (1968) showed that the expected time for a neutral allele to reach fixation (given that it will reach fixation) is $$\bar t(p_0)=-4N\left(\frac{1-p_0}{p_0}\right)\ln(1-p_0),$$ where ...
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1answer
43 views

Explaining natural selection in moth [closed]

Industrial melanism is an example of natural selection. Can it be considered as a evolution due to anthropogenic action?
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1answer
138 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 ...
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1answer
311 views

What's the difference between stabilizing selection and balancing selection?

I came across these terms in Darwin's "Origin of Species" and I wasn't sure what the difference is.
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167 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 ...
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3answers
358 views

Why did humans become bipedal?

Somewhere in evolutionary history homo started walking upright and became bipedal. You hear these hypotheses that, by walking upright, they could see better across the grassy savannas to escape ...
3
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1answer
115 views

Fecundity per woman in early humans

The average fecundity per woman varies a lot from country to country. I call average fecundity per woman the average number of born children per woman. In Homo sapiens, what was the average fecundity ...
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1answer
63 views

Survival curve in early humans

The survival curve/function describes the probability of a given individual to survive to age $x$. In humans, today's survival function is very much influenced by medicine. This leads me to wonder ...
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48 views

How does the population fitness changes after a change in mutation rate

The mean population fitness as given by mutation load theory depends only on the genome-wide mutation rate ($U$). My question is: how many generations is needed to reach a new mutation load ...
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1answer
91 views

Why estimate linear and full (linear, quadratic, and correlational) selection coefficients separately?

"We then fitted a linear regression including all three life-history traits to estimate the vector of linear selection gradients, β, for each sex (Lande and Arnold 1983). A quadratic regression ...
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2answers
260 views

How can natural selection occur at species level whilst not occuring at the individual level?

The chapter by Douglas Futuyma in 'Evolution' (Losos et al 2013, Princeton) states that natural selection can occur at the species level. Futuyma states that if natural selection occurs at the species ...
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1answer
32 views

Is genetic drift necessarily deleterious?

I read that genetic drift is random variation in the relative allele frequencies of a population. This question however seems to pin genetic drift down to increasing deleterious allele ...
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1answer
122 views

Drake's Law. What is the genome-wide mutation rate and what are the estimates?

Drake's rule Drake's rule states that the genome-wide mutation rate is more or less constant across all species — from E.coli to the house sparrow. Data From what I think being Drake's original ...
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1answer
59 views

What is the progressive evolutionary advantage that leads to flying?

As far as I understand, all life started as non-flying and flying came about by natural selection. What is the evolutionary advantageous "path" to flying? Or is there something else to explain this?
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49 views

Niche differentiation in birds of prey

I'm not much of an ornithologist but I know enough to distinguish most Central European birds of prey. To me it is amazing that there are so many species that seem to occupy the same niche. Especially ...
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1answer
89 views

How prominent is the gene-centric view of evolution among professional researchers?

Richard Dawkins famously advocated a gene-centric (as opposed to organism-centric) viewpoint on natural selection, most notably in The Extended Phenotype. However, I have also heard "on the grapevine" ...
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3answers
803 views

What is the difference between eugenics and evolution by natural selection?

So with the working definition of Eugenics: "the aim to improve the human gene pool". What are key features that distinguish Eugenics from evolution by natural selection? I mean, besides that natural ...
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1answer
41 views

Gene duplication and subfunctionalization

I’ve been intrigued by gene duplication and want to learn more about it. I’ve read the following from here: several studies suggest that the proportion of duplicated genes retained in ...
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1answer
58 views

Are there multicellular isogamous species?

Are there multicellular isogamous species? Seeking through the examples of wikipedia I would tend to think that there are no multicellular isogamous species.
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50 views

Ancestral states of sex determination system

Most (maybe all?) species that reproduce sexually have either genders (anisogamy) or mating types (isogamy). There exist today many different type of sexual determination system. There is a whole ...
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1answer
97 views

What is most ancestral: isogamy or anisogamy?

Sexual reproduction can be feasible with anisogamy (gametes of different sizes i.e. genders) or isogamy (gametes of same size i.e. mating types) or with undifferentiated gametes (i.e. true random ...
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40 views

Why are there no animals with a length greater than 30-40 meters or with a mass greater than 200 tonnes? [duplicate]

The biggest and heaviest aquatic animal is the blue whale: 30 meters long and a mass of 200 tonnes. The biggest and heaviest terrestrial animal was a Sauropod (plant-eating, long-necked dinosaur): 40 ...
6
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1answer
126 views

Effects of selection on effective population size

Background The effective population size ($N_e$) is a central concept of evolutionary biology and is influenced by several parameters. For example: sex ratio bias affects $N_e$ $\left(N_e = ...
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2answers
90 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 ...
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1answer
48 views

Is there an association between environmental and mutational robustness?

The robustness of a genotype is the ability of this genotype to resist (always produce the same phenotype) to various parameters such as mutations and environment. The ability of a genotype to resist ...
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51 views

Mutation-drift equilibrium and among loci variance in heterozygosity

At mutation-drift balance, the increased heterozygosity brought by new mutations is exactly equal to the loss of heterozygosity due to genetic drift. At equilibrium, the expected heterozygosity for a ...
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1answer
499 views

Fisher's Geometric Model for Dummies

Fisher's geometric model is still today one of the most important and fundamental model in evolutionary biology but it seems to me that most student in evolutionary biology don't really understand it ...
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795 views

The evolutionary process in bird wings, especially with regard to winglets

In this answer on aviation.SE a comparison is made between the shapes of airplanes wings and the shapes of birds wings. It concludes with the following remark: After all, no bird has winglets. Not ...
5
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1answer
55 views

Components of the concept of Developmental Noise?

Developmental noise is a concept that correspond to the amount of possible phenotypic variance of a given genotype in a given environment. Intrinsic noise (aka Cellular noise) is a component of ...
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209 views

How does Natural Selection shape Genetic Variation?

Background Importance of the additive genetic variance As stated here, the fundamental theorem of Natural Selection (NS) by Fisher says: The rate of increase in the mean fitness of any organism ...
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1answer
173 views

What does “Mutational Variance” mean?

Background The concept of mutational variance can be found in many articles including this one for example. The mutational variance of a trait number $i$ can be found in the M-matrix in position ...
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8answers
2k views

Is there a biological mechanism for evolution encoded into our DNA?

Throughout high school, I remember learning about Darwin's theory of evolution as if it were near-fact. But something always seemed wrong about the ideas presented. Survival of the fittest Random ...
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3answers
362 views

Why has grey hair evolved?

A vast majority of humans get at least some grey hair as they age. As far as I know this applies to both genders and all races. Presumably this means that at least some grey haired humans have ...
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655 views

What exactly does adaptive mean?

This is a quote from Dey et al 2014: Hatching asynchrony is thought to be adaptive because... What exactly does adaptive mean here? Does it mean hatching asynchrony has fitness benefits? Or does ...