Posts Tagged ‘Mutation’

What is evolutionary selection now selecting for?

November 14, 2012

What are the genetic characteristics that are effectively being “selected for” today?

Evolutionary selection is a result not a cause. It is a result describing the genetic change of a population not of an individual. But all genetic change in a population comes about only through the procreation of new generations of individuals.

Evolution then is the result of the survival, success and reproduction of organisms within an environment which is changing. By environment I mean all surrounding factors whether geologic or climatic or of competition within the species or with other species. In a population of organisms the relative success of and subsequent reproduction of those better suited to the environment begets a gradual change in the  characteristics of the surviving organisms.  It is because of the environmental changes in the first place that there is a subsequent change in the characteristics of the organism best suited to that environment. It is this gradual change of the surviving characteristics that we call evolution and we say that the resultant, surviving characteristics have been “selected for”. If the environment did not change and if an organism was suited to its environment, the genetic make-up of the organisation would always tend back to its stable equilibrium position. Any mutational changes would provide no benefit and would just die away. Without environmental change there would be no evolution to report. Over long stretches of time and many thousands of generations, these gradual changes of environment have been sufficient to have created all the species of living things that have ever existed and to have eliminated all the non-viable species that have gone extinct.

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