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Principles of Evolutionary Medicine$
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Peter Gluckman, Alan Beedle, Tatjana Buklijas, Felicia Low, and Mark Hanson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199663927

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199663927.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 January 2020

Evolutionary Theory

Evolutionary Theory

(p.19) Chapter 2 Evolutionary Theory
Principles of Evolutionary Medicine

Peter Gluckman

Alan Beedle

Tatjana Buklijas

Felicia Low

Mark Hanson

Oxford University Press

Evolutionary science explains the huge diversity of present and past life forms. Heritable variation between particular characteristics (traits) of individuals causes differential reproductive success (fitness), leading to the accumulation of beneficial variations (adaptations) in subsequent generations. Changes in genotype (caused by mutations or recombination) are the basis of heritable variation. For selection to act, those changes must cause differences in the phenotype. Selection acts on phenotypic characteristics influencing survival and reproduction (natural selection) or ability to obtain a mate (sexual selection). Random genetic drift can influence the evolution of a species, particularly in the presence of founder effects and population bottlenecks. There are constraints on evolutionary possibilities, including those imposed by limits on variation and by the evolutionary history of a lineage. Not all the characteristics of an organism need have an adaptive explanation, and many adaptive arguments must remain hypothetical rather than proven.

Keywords:   Evolution, Variation, Traits, Adaptation, Genotype, Mutation, Phenotype, Survival, Reproduction, Genetic drift

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