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Evolution and the Levels of Selection$
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Samir Okasha

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199267972

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267972.001.0001

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Levels of Selection and the Major Evolutionary Transitions

Levels of Selection and the Major Evolutionary Transitions

(p.218) 8 Levels of Selection and the Major Evolutionary Transitions
Evolution and the Levels of Selection

Samir Okasha (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the ‘major evolutionary transitions’, in particular the idea that multi-level selection theory is crucial for understanding them. These transitions occur when a number of free-living biological individuals, originally capable of surviving and reproducing alone, become integrated into a co-operative whole. The literature on evolutionary transitions is concerned with the origins of hierarchical organization rather than selection and adaptation at pre-existing hierarchical levels. This calls for a ‘diachronic’ rather than a ‘synchronic’ formulation of the levels of selection question. The implications of this change in perspective are examined. The distinction between MLS1 and MLS2 is examined in relation to the major evolutionary transitions.

Keywords:   evolutionary transitions, major transitions, multi-cellularity, hierarchical organization, MLS1, MLS2, evolution of individuality, hypercycles, pre-biotic evolution, trait groups

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