News tagged with natural selection

Related topics: genes , proceedings of the national academy of sciences , evolution , genome

Look into the future with genetic programming

With predictive modeling techniques, it is possible to predict anything from clients' shopping habits and illnesses to a golfer's handicap. The only prerequisite is to have enough examples. In a doctoral thesis from the University ...

Apr 08, 2014
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New study explains evolution of duplicate genes

From time to time, living cells will accidently make an extra copy of a gene during the normal replication process. Throughout the history of life, evolution has molded some of these seemingly superfluous ...

Apr 07, 2014
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Why is type 2 diabetes an increasing problem?

Contrary to a common belief, researchers have shown that genetic regions associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes were unlikely to have been beneficial to people at stages through human evolution.

Jan 09, 2014
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With population rise, natural laws purge nastiest genes

(Medical Xpress)—As human population grows, disease-causing genetic mutations per individual increase, but each mutation is less harmful, when compared with a population that is not growing, says a Cornell study to be published ...

Oct 03, 2013
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Evolution pushes on as European men grow taller

A new study shows that the average height of European men has increased by nearly 11cm since the 1870s. Museum human origins expert Prof Chris Stringer explains why height fluctuates over time.

Sep 06, 2013
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Did evolution give us inflammatory disease?

In new research published on March 21, 2013 in the online issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) demonstrate that some variants in our genes that contribute to a p ...

Mar 21, 2013
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Natural selection

Natural selection is the process by which heritable traits that make it more likely for an organism to survive and successfully reproduce become more common in a population over successive generations. It is a key mechanism of evolution.

The natural genetic variation within a population of organisms means that some individuals will survive and reproduce more successfully than others in their current environment. For example, the peppered moth exists in both light and dark colors in the United Kingdom, but during the industrial revolution many of the trees on which the moths rested became blackened by soot, giving the dark-colored moths an advantage in hiding from predators. This gave dark-colored moths a better chance of surviving to produce dark-colored offspring, and in just a few generations the majority of the moths were dark. Factors which affect reproductive success are also important, an issue which Charles Darwin developed in his ideas on sexual selection.

Natural selection acts on the phenotype, or the observable characteristics of an organism, but the genetic (heritable) basis of any phenotype which gives a reproductive advantage will increase in frequency over the following generations (see allele frequency). Over time, this process can result in adaptations that specialize organisms for particular ecological niches and may eventually result in the emergence of new species. In other words, natural selection is an important process (though not the only process) by which evolution takes place within a population of organisms.

Natural selection is one of the cornerstones of modern biology. The term was introduced by Darwin in his groundbreaking 1859 book On the Origin of Species, in which natural selection was described by analogy to artificial selection, a process by which animals with traits considered desirable by human breeders are systematically favored for reproduction. The concept of natural selection was originally developed in the absence of a valid theory of heredity; at the time of Darwin's writing, nothing was known of modern genetics. The union of traditional Darwinian evolution with subsequent discoveries in classical and molecular genetics is termed the modern evolutionary synthesis. Natural selection remains the primary explanation for adaptive evolution.

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