Blackwell Publishing

Natural selection and variation

This tutorial first establishes the conditions for natural selection to operate, and distinguishes directional, stabilizing, and disruptive forms of selection. We then consider how widely in nature the conditions are met, and review the evidence for variation within species; the review begins at the level of gross morphology and works down to molecular variation. Variation originates by recombination and mutation, and we finish by looking at the argument to show that when new variation arises it is not 'directed' toward improved adaptation.

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