Natural Selection: Introduction


Most organisms have relatively stable populations, so that, of all those born, only some survive to reproduce. Those that survive do so because they are in some way better suited to their environment. This process involves natural selection by environmental pressures among all of the variations present in a population. Over time, those alleles that enhance survival and/or reproductive success will become more common in the population and the genetic composition of the population will change.

Keywords: Galapagos finches; Darwin; macroevolution; artificial selection; adaption; evolution

Further Reading

Darwin C (1859) The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection. London: John Murray.

Darwin C (1897) The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication. New York: D Appleton and Company.

Gingerich PD (1983) Rates of evolution: Effects of time and temporal scaling. Science 222: 159–161.

Gould SJ and Eldredge N (1993) Punctuated equilibrium comes of age. Nature 366: 223–227.

Grant PR (1986) Ecology and Evolution of Darwin′s Finches. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Stearns SC (1992) The Evolution of Life Histories. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Reznick, David(Apr 2001) Natural Selection: Introduction. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001750]