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Evolutionary GeneticsConcepts, Analysis, and Practice$
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Glenn-Peter Sætre and Mark Ravinet

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830917

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830917.001.0001

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The power of natural selection

The power of natural selection

(p.92) Chapter 5 The power of natural selection
Evolutionary Genetics

Glenn-Peter Sætre

Mark Ravinet

Oxford University Press

Adaptations are the products of natural selection—traits that evolved because they proved useful at some level. Often adaptations evolved because they enhanced the survival or reproductive output of individuals, but selection can also operate at other levels—genes, individuals, populations, and species. Sometimes a genetic change has positive effects on all levels. A mutation that increases the survival of its carrier would increase in frequency; populations that become fixed for that allele may be less prone to extinction, which in turn may increase the longevity of that species. Other times there can be conflicting fitness effects at the different levels. This chapter explores the power of natural selection in shaping the living world by investigating the complexities of multilevel selection, biological solutions to heterogeneity and unpredictability in the environment, and how interactions between species can shape evolution. However, the chapter starts by investigating factors that may constrain adaptive evolution.

Keywords:   evolutionary constraints, punctuated equilibria, evolutionary stasis, species selection, kin selection, genetic conflict, phenotypic plasticity, evolution of sex, coevolution

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