The frailty of adaptive hypotheses for the origins of organismal complexity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The vast majority of biologists engaged in evolutionary studies interpret virtually every aspect of biodiversity in adaptive terms. This narrow view of evolution has become untenable in light of recent observations from genomic sequencing and populationgenetic theory. Numerous aspects of genomic architecture, gene structure, and developmental pathways are difficult to explain without invoking the nonadaptive forces of genetic drift and mutation. In addition, emergent biological features such as complexity, modularity, and evolvability, all of which are current targets of considerable speculation, may be nothing more than indirect byproducts of processes operating at lower levels of organization. These issues are examined in the context of the view that the origins of many aspects of biological diversity, from gene-structural embellishments to novelties at the phenotypic level, have roots in nonadaptive processes, with the population-genetic environment imposing strong directionality on the paths that are open to evolutionary exploitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdaptation and Complex Design
PublisherNational Academies Press
Pages83-103
Number of pages21
Volume1
ISBN (Print)030910405X, 9780309104050
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 28 2007
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Lynch, M. (2007). The frailty of adaptive hypotheses for the origins of organismal complexity. In Adaptation and Complex Design (Vol. 1, pp. 83-103). National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11790