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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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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181 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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44 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 ...
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1answer
160 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
126 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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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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1answer
86 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
705 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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3answers
899 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 ...
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1answer
110 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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2answers
268 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
273 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
501 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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3answers
934 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 ...
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3answers
134 views

How did the horned lizard evolve?

It's a lizard that has the ability to burst blood vessels in it's eyes and shoot blood as self defense. How can this behavior be explained evolutionary? Wouldn't it mean that there had to be some ...
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5answers
2k views

Why are there species instead of a continuum of various animals?

As I understand it, various animal traits have to evolve gradually, but what happens to the species that are "neither here nor there"? To put it differently, if a species evolved from another, it did ...
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3answers
334 views

Where are the evolutionary “inbetweeners”? [closed]

The problem I've always had with evolution is the actual lack of variation between animals. More specifically, the lack of observable gradual change between species. Take for example the hammerhead ...
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2answers
120 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 ...
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1answer
115 views

What is the outcome of a human population starting with only 2 individuals? [closed]

Starting with a human population N = 2, is there any way the genetic variability seen today could have come about? I don't know that much about meiosis, but isn't there a very limited number of ...
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1answer
833 views

Soft and Hard selection

Seems to me that these two sources (M. Whitlock, B. Wallace) use different definitions of soft and hard selection. M. Whitlock: Soft selection occurs when the relative fitness of an individual is ...
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2answers
255 views

On evolution statistics [closed]

This basic evolution theory question has been haunting me since childhood and I'm kind of embarrassed that I can't explain it yet: Consider a butterfly. It's wings have evolved to look like the eyes ...
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$F_{ST}$ and the genetic variance in metapopulations

From this video (21'15''), the speaker gives the following formulae in order to calculate the between and among populations genetic variance from the $F_{ST}$: $$V_{Among Pop} = 2 F_{ST}V_G$$ ...
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1answer
57 views

Distribution of fitness in wild populations

If I get out in the wild observe wild populations and measure the distribution of fitness $f(w)$ in a given population. What will I find out? Will I observe a Gaussian distribution, a Poisson ...
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1answer
59 views

What is a sex-biased gene?

How do you define a male-biased gene and a female-biased gene as they are found in the abstract of this article.
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1answer
164 views

Definition of Sexual Selection?

How do you define Sexual Selection (SS)? (One might want to subdivide SS into intra- and inter- SS to answer) Is SS clearly different from Natural Selection (NS)? Is SS nested within NS or are NS ...
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2answers
124 views

problem with natural selection [duplicate]

I fail to see how natural selection can build any kind of new functionality. New functionality in a design requires sacrificing a complex series of meanwhile useless steps before the new ...
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1answer
194 views

Two-fold cost of sex and r/K selection theory

This article cites a bunch of articles (I haven't been through them) that the effect of the two-fold cost of sex is "reduced" in stable environment or in K-selected environment. It says: [..] the ...
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1answer
212 views

Evolution and the levels of selection

Reading Okasha's "Evolution and the levels of selection" he talks about "the levels of selection problem." There is a bit of a problem with this opening chapter because, while he talks about why the ...
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3answers
468 views

Has it been enough time for evolution through simple natural selection?

Let first state that I understand natural selection. I am not asking if evolution happened. I see evolution as a fact, but I do not assume the current theory of natural selection as fact. I wonder if ...
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1answer
49 views

Definition of Linkage Desiquilibrium (LD)

According to wiki, linkage disequilibrium $D$ equals $$D = x_{11} - p_1\cdot q_1$$ where: $$ \begin{matrix} \text{Haplotype} & \text{Frequency}\\ A_1B_1 & x_{11}\\ ...
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Source of information on the evolution of aging/senescence

Do you know a good review (published peer-reviewed or an online course or whatever) that offers a good overview of all hypothesis explaining the various patterns linked with aging? I'd like this ...
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2answers
120 views

Can I force evolution in a group of cells by removing all the smaller cells?

I actually have algae growing in water in a container. I was thinking if it was possible to filter the water so that all the small cells will be filtered out and only the bigger ones will remain to ...
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2answers
98 views

Heterozygosity under genetic drift

The wright-Fisher model of genetic drift is: $$p_{ij} = \binom{2N}{j}\left(\frac{i}{2N}\right)^j \left(1- \frac{i}{2N}\right)^{2N-j} $$ ,where $\binom{2N}{j}$ is a binomial coefficient. From this ...
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1answer
585 views

How does GC-content evolve?

Background GC-content refers to the frequency of base pairs that are either C or G in the genome, or in other words the number of GC base pairs divided by the addition of the number of GC base pairs ...
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217 views

List of the biggest companies that work in selective breeding

Looking at this question, I've been wondering, What are the biggest private companies which work in both animal and non-animal selective breeding? Let me know if Biology.SE is not appropriate for ...
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2answers
116 views

Effect on fitness of mutations

What is the distribution/probability density function (PDF) of impacts on fitness of new mutations? I very welcome any partial answer that does not give the whole PDF but just some information ...
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1answer
41 views

Dominance/recessivity of new mutations

What is the distribution/probability density function (PDF) of recessivity/dominance of new mutations? I very welcome any partial answer that does not give the whole PDF but just some information ...
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1answer
74 views

Additive genetic variance with $n$ loci

The genetic variance of a quantitative trait (the quantitative trait in question is fitness) can be express as the sum of two components, the dominance and additive variance: $$\sigma_D^2 + ...
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1answer
112 views

Additive genetic variance with $n$ alleles

The genetic variance of a quantitative trait (the quantitative trait in question is fitness) can be express as the sum of two components, the dominance and additive variance: $$\sigma_D^2 + ...
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2answers
200 views

DNA adaptation in human life

Does our DNA adapt by human lifetime? Or do we have the same genetic information from birth to death? I mean: What is usually called "evolution" means "natural selection" like this: ...
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1answer
29 views

Could mating/recombination be responsible for evolution of entirely novel features?

The diploid chromosomal architecture is rather interesting. For example, because of diploidy we Humans have to mate. Of course in that sense, because diploid organisms often have mate, this has led to ...
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How do I calculate the change in allele frequency in a haploid population under selection?

From this book For simplicity, let us consider a haploid organism and assume that the frequencies of alleles $A_1$ and $A_2$ are given by $x$ and $y=1-x$, respectively. We also assume that the ...
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1answer
157 views

How to calculate the effective population size ($N_e$) with overlapping generations?

From this Source: If generations are overlapping, then the effective population size $N_e$ does not equal the population size $N$. I know mathematical formulations in order to find the effective ...
5
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2answers
162 views

Linkage disequilibrium with multiple alleles and loci

Linkage disequilibrium $\left(D\right)$ for two bi-allelic loci is defined as: $$D=X_{11}X_{22} - X_{12}X_{21}$$ where $X_{11},\ X_{12},\ X_{21},\ X_{22}$ are the frequencies of the haplotypes ...
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1answer
175 views

Is Natural Selection like a Copy Editor?

I am stuck on a Homework Question. It says: Evaluate the following statement: “Natural selection works like a copy editor; it works only with what is already present in a population.” (Note: ...
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422 views

Why does the slope of parent-offspring regression equals the heritability in the narrow sense?

Background ---- Notations and assumptions ---- let $W_{ij}$ be the fitness associated to the genotype $AiAj$. $x$ is the frequency of the allele $A1$ in the population. The frequency of the allele ...
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1answer
169 views

Does recombination increase the additive genetic variance for fitness?

On this article, first column, eighth line of the introduction: By bringing together favourable alleles from different chromosomes, sex and recombination increase the additive genetic variance for ...
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1answer
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What indices can we use to describe fitness landscapes?

We usually talk of smooth or rugged fitness landscape. Are there any (standard) indices to measure the "structure" of fitness landscapes? For example, one might consider the mean epistatic ...
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349 views

question about directional selection

Cattle breeders have improved the quality of meat over the years by which process? A) artificial selection B) directional selection C) stabilizing selection D) A and B E) A and C I know the answer is ...