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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
1answer
39 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.
8
votes
3answers
185 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
135 views

Model for fluctuating selection

Is there any mathematical model to predict the behaviour and long-term consequence of counter-acting selection at different time scale? For example, let's consider the bi-allelic gene A, with alleles ...
5
votes
1answer
122 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
35 views

An Example of Building something from scratch in small steps [duplicate]

I take it as self-evident that the level of engineering complexity in life forms is very high. Most Biologists assert that this complexity was built by the method of small incremental changes (random ...
4
votes
1answer
134 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
30 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
76 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
113 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
45 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What evolutionary adaptations cause trees to grow tall?

I think there are some obvious costs for trees to grow tall. Carbon and other nutrients costs, maintenance cost, energy cost (for growing, to bring water (and nutrients) up to the higher leaves, ...
4
votes
1answer
66 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
75 views

Reformulation of Hamilton's rule

Who (and in which article) was the first to reformulate Hamilton's rule using the letters $B$ and $C$?. See below comments on this reformulation. Hamilton, in his 1964's article gave a mathematical ...
7
votes
2answers
141 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
193 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
90 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
46 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
78 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 ...
4
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
52 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
706 views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
46 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?
21
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
69 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" ...
2
votes
0answers
29 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
475 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
536 views

Are there any scientifically based predictions or theories of future human evolution?

Reading this question of the stack exchange got me thinking. I believe human evolution is an ongoing process and will not stop. Are there any predictions/theories about the phenotypes and genotypes of ...
1
vote
1answer
31 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.
10
votes
3answers
701 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
40 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
38 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
31 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
108 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 = ...
0
votes
0answers
35 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
194 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the relationship between sexual and and natural selection?

In http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12701.html, they say: Thus, it seems that the diverse coloration in this species is promoted by both natural and sexual selection. ...
12
votes
7answers
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Empirical evidence for Group Selection?

A controversial concept in Biology "Group Selection", has caused confusion and conflict amongst scientists since the since the mid 1990s. The more general realm of study is termed the "unit of ...
7
votes
1answer
311 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
37 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
40 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
108 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
41 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}\\ ...
6
votes
2answers
200 views

Probability of Extinction under Genetic Drift

Here is the Wright-Fisher model of genetic drift: $$\frac{(2N)!}{k!(2N-k)!}p^kq^{2N-k} \Leftrightarrow \binom{2N}{k}p^kq^{2N-k}$$ where $\binom{2N}{k}$ is the binomial coefficient. This formula ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Why do animals only eat some parts of their food?

For example monkeys/apes only eat part of a fruit and then throw the rest. Cats (big and small species) only eat some parts of their prey and then they abandon it. Humans on the contrary leave as few ...
3
votes
1answer
272 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
50 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.
2
votes
1answer
70 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 ...