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Founder Effects and Peak Shifts Without Genetic Drift: Adaptive Peak Shifts Occur Easily When Environments Fluctuate Slightly
Michael C. Whitlock
Vol. 51, No. 4 (Aug., 1997), pp. 1044-1048
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2411033
Page Count: 5
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Two similar evolutionary theories, the shifting balance theory and founder-flush models, invoke random genetic drift to allow evolution on complex adaptive landscapes. These models, in their usual incarnations, deal with fitness as a static entity, and the probability of transition from one form to another is predicted to be quite small by analysis of these models. Fitness itself can change, however, and the amount of change in the parameters of the fitness functions required to allow deterministic evolution to new adaptive peaks is very small. The probability of environmental changes sufficient to allow substantial morphological evolution or reproductive isolation is large relative to the probability that similar changes could occur by processes requiring genetic drift, even with very small population sizes. The rapid evolution or speciation following a population founding event is more closely linked with environmental changes than genetic drift.
Evolution © 1997 Society for the Study of Evolution