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Mutation, Randomness, and Evolution$
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Arlin Stoltzfus

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198844457

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844457.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 July 2021

The problem of variation

The problem of variation

(p.111) Chapter 7 The problem of variation
Mutation, Randomness, and Evolution

Arlin Stoltzfus

Oxford University Press

Chapter 7 maps out a broad framework for considering the problem of variation in evolution. Under the neo-Darwinian view that variation merely plays the role of supplying random infinitesimal raw materials, with no dispositional influence on the course of evolution, a substantive theory of form and its variation is not required to specify a complete theory of evolution. This view has been breaking down from the moment it was proposed, and is now seriously challenged by results from evo-devo, comparative genomics, molecular evolution, and quantitative genetics. For instance, the multivariate generalization of quantitative genetics indicates that selection cannot possibly act as an independent governing force. Replacing a theory of variation as fuel with a theory of variation as a dispositional factor will require, at minimum, an understanding of tendencies of variation (source laws), and an understanding of how those tendencies affect evolution (consequence laws).

Keywords:   neo-Darwinism, morphotron, evo-devo, quantitative genetics

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