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
0answers
9 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
39 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
3answers
267 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

Cost of Substitution explained

I've recently come across an article that mentions "Cost of Substitution" and was wondering if someone can give me a real layman's term explanation of what that is. (Edited:) This was in relation to ...
1
vote
1answer
21 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
15 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.
2
votes
0answers
22 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
16 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

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

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
73 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 = ...
1
vote
0answers
64 views

Are humans the only living species that have the concept of exercise? [closed]

Humans have the concept of working out and exercising to keep themselves healthy. I have not heard of any other species that does the same, but I am just being ignorant. Are humans the only living ...
1
vote
1answer
31 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
31 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
11 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
126 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
617 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
votes
1answer
31 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
42 views

How does Natural Selection Shapes 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
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
3answers
115 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
357 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
95 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
200 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
52 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
19 views

coevolution by physical interaction between RNA sequences

There are several items that relate to the concerted evolution between pairs of sencuencias (especially structural) rRNA as a consequence of physical interaction in tertiary, or even quaternary ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

detection of primary origin (natural selection or genetic drift) on alterations in sequences

I recently had a question about how to distinguish the origin of variations in the sequences of rRNA as to whether alterations are generated by genetic drift or natural selection. For me it has not ...
-1
votes
1answer
86 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
76 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
2answers
130 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

$F_{ST}$ 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 $F_{ST}$: $$V_{Among Pop} = 2 F_{ST}V_G$$ ...
1
vote
1answer
39 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
46 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
53 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
78 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
73 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
140 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
73 views

Is there an evolutionary explanation for depression?

Evolutionarily speaking, depression (both clinical depression and temporary sadness) is a curious phenomenon. Since being depressed is likely to increase the chance of a person with it to commit ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Effects of Genetic Drift on Linkage Disequilibrium

From what I understood of @Canadianer's answer here... Genetic drift randomly causes negative or positive linkage disequilibria, by changing allele frequencies through random sampling. Natural ...
2
votes
1answer
40 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}\\ ...
2
votes
0answers
25 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Effect of natural selection on phenotypic variance

Short background Theoretically speaking, natural selection causes a decrease in genetic variance and because the environmental variance should remain unchanged, natural selection causes a decrease of ...
3
votes
2answers
97 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
90 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
49 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
89 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
38 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 ...