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SelectionThe Mechanism of Evolution$
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Graham Bell

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198569725

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198569725.001.0001

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Simple selection

Simple selection

(p.1) CHAPTER 1 Simple selection

Graham Bell

Oxford University Press

The action of selection is based on a few simple principles that are general to all self-replicating systems, and which constitute a distinct branch of science. This introductory chapter presents a brief overview of some of these principles in a wide range of systems. It is divided into various sections on the following discussion topics: RNA viruses are the simplest self-replicators; exponential growth can be maintained by serial transfer; replication is always imprecise; imprecise replication leads to differential growth; selection acts directly on rates of replication; selection may act indirectly on other characters; the indirect response to selection is often antagonistic; evolution typically involves a sequence of alterations; the evolution of increased complexity is a contingent process; very improbable structures rapidly arise through the cumulation of alterations; competitors are an important part of the environment; evolution through selection is a property of self-replicators; self-replicating algorithms evolve in computers; and finally evolution through selection is governed by a set of general principles.

Keywords:   adaptation, natural selection, artificial selection, sexual selection, experimental evolution, microbiology, mutation, diversity, speciation

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