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79 votes
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Do beneficial viruses exist? If so, what examples are there?

Do they exist? Yes What are they called? Marilyn Roossinck calls them viral mutualistic symbiotes. She has an excellent review here. What are some examples? My personal favorite is GB-Virus C, or ...
De Novo's user avatar
  • 8,811
27 votes

Do beneficial viruses exist? If so, what examples are there?

Another good virus would be a Bacteriophage, a virus that infects and kills illness-causing bacteria. From Wiki: A bacteriophage also known informally as a phage, is a virus that infects and ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
18 votes

Do beneficial viruses exist? If so, what examples are there?

We have engineered a few good viruses to treat certain diseases Per my comment and response: The most current example (at this time and based on my recollection) is the virus we have engineered to ...
Reginald Blue's user avatar
18 votes

Do beneficial viruses exist? If so, what examples are there?

I would say that if any "good" viruses exist, they are already within us. Retrotransposons are genetic elements in our DNA that were likely ancient viruses and they move around from time to time ...
user40950's user avatar
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15 votes

Do beneficial viruses exist? If so, what examples are there?

Cowpox and smallpox viruses are structurally similar, and catching one confers immunity to both by immune system response, but one was a deadly disease and the other almost harmless. Once this was ...
Joshua's user avatar
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6 votes
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How does natural selection process escape from local optima?

From your profile, I see that you have some knowledge in computer science so I will try to use some terms from the field of machine learning! Natural Selection Natural Selection (NS) can only lead a ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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4 votes
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What does genetic diversity in one species have to do with survival rate when an epidemic spreads?

Genetic diversity could be understood as a variation in alleles (gene variants) and their frequencies in a population. Due to these allelic variations, we would expect an inherent variability in ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
3 votes
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What causes the activation of "Late acting deleterious genes" in late age but not in young age, whose accumulation causes ageing according to Medawar?

It's not that genes become 'activated' at late age, but that they aren't relevant until late age, so high performing versions aren't selected for and poor performing versions aren't selected against. ...
timeskull's user avatar
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3 votes

What is the mathematical relationship between selection coefficient and dN/dS

dN/dS is usually calculated for an alignment or a phylogenetic tree as if the gene is haploid. Dioloidy is an interesting complication, since it can render deleterious mutations neutral. Selection ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
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3 votes
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Kin selection Vs altruism (social biology)

how can kin selection be altruistic? Part of you confusion is purely semantic. Kin selection cannot be altruistic. Kin selection is an evolutionary process. Altruism is a behaviour. Saying "kin ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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3 votes

What causes humans to be physically weak compared to animals like gorillas?

Evolutionary tools that are not needed for increased survival rate of offspring of a certain lineage deteriorate with time. The deterioration might have a form of gene expression changes or mutation ...
nya's user avatar
  • 191
2 votes

In a fitness landscape, is fitness relative or absolute?

By experience, most of the time, authors are talking about relative fitness. To confirm my feeling, I looked at the three randomly chosen theory papers from the first page of results that Google ...
Remi.b's user avatar
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2 votes
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What's the difference between evolution fitness and reproductive success?

The concepts are very similar but there are a few differences. Firstly, fitness is usually applied to alleles or genotypes, reproductive success to individuals. Secondly (and partially as a ...
arboviral's user avatar
  • 3,354
2 votes
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What problem does kin selection solve?

Why natural selection leads to selfishness Imagine a population of individuals. At a given locus, some individual carry the A allele and some others can the ...
Remi.b's user avatar
  • 68.2k
2 votes

Visualizing the effect of selection on a population with a fitness landscape in R

My suggestion is that instead of representing the data purely in terms of summary statistics, that you actually simulate populations of individuals. This allows you to plot phenotype values across all ...
Maximilian Press's user avatar
2 votes

What to call a trait that has current utility but unclear evolutionary origin?

As you point out, people have sampled other terms like "aptation" but these terms are not commonly used. In order to not imply anything about the evolutionary history, since it is unknown, I think it ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
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2 votes

Why is this the equation for the fitness of cooperators?

As Bryan Krause points out in the comments, looking at the units gives you the answer. The correct form of the equation is $f_{c}=\frac{b(i-1)}{N-1}-c$, where $f_{c}$ is the fitness of cooperators, $N$...
user438383's user avatar
  • 2,351
1 vote

Why exactly would a big, tropical, dangerous spider not thrive if imported to a "cold" climate location such as Sweden?

I believe this page from Khan academy explains pretty decently why temperature is important to living organisms: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/principles-of-physiology/metabolism-and-...
Oosaka's user avatar
  • 3,253
1 vote

Visualizing the effect of selection on a population with a fitness landscape in R

There are at least several different approaches that can work. Without examining your code, it seems that the population is described as a distribution of phenotypes. You need a way to allow that ...
S. McGrew's user avatar
  • 747
1 vote
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Why is this the equation for the fitness of cooperators?

Bryan Krause and user438383 are correct in pointing out that the second equation makes no sense since it would involve subtracting c, a cost, from N, a population. As to why cooperation and defection ...
Connor McCormick's user avatar
1 vote

What problem does kin selection solve?

Kin selection explains a violation of the assumption that individuals will always selfishly promote their own reproduction. (Lemmings jumping into the sea is a myth that does not happen). Every ...
Karl Kjer's user avatar
  • 7,693
1 vote

What is the reproductive success of a biting mosquito?

The amount (percentage) of eggs to mature varies greatly and depends on many factors and off course varies by season. The correct (but not really satisfying) answer is that from every 100 eggs, ...
RHA's user avatar
  • 3,685
1 vote

Can growth rate be used as an indicator of fitness in fish populations?

Welcome to Biology.SE! Possible confusion When talking about growth rate as a proxy for fitness, most authors think of population growth rate (whether in terms of the Malthusian parameter or the net ...
Remi.b's user avatar
  • 68.2k
1 vote
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How to calculate relative fitness from absolute fitness with recapture data?

So the dataset is this: id x3 x4 2 1 1 3 1 1 4 1 1 5 1 0 Lets assume that we caught the entire population so that we ...
M. Beausoleil's user avatar

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