This book adopts an experimental approach to understanding the mechanisms of evolution and the nature of evolutionary processes, with examples drawn from microbial, plant and animal systems. It incorporates insights from remarkable recent advances in theoretical modeling, and the fields of molecular genetics and environmental genomics.
Adaptation is caused by selection continually winnowing the genetic variation created by mutation. In the last decade, our knowledge of how selection operates on populations in the field and in the laboratory has increased enormously, and the principal aim of this book is to provide an up-to-date account of selection as the principal agent of evolution. In the classical Fisherian model, weak selection acting on many genes of small effect over long periods of time is responsible for driving slow and gradual change. However, it is now clear that adaptation in laboratory populations often involves strong selection acting on a few genes of large effect, while in the wild selection is often strong and highly variable in space and time. Indeed these results are changing our perception of how evolutionary change takes place. This book summarizes our current understanding of the causes and consequences of selection, with an emphasis on quantitative and experimental studies. It includes the latest research into experimental evolution, natural selection in the wild, artificial selection, selfish genetic elements, selection in social contexts, sexual selection, and speciation.
iSelection: The Mechanism of Evolution/i is an advanced textbook suitable for senior undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in evolutionary biology, ecology, population genetics, and experimental evolution. It will also be a valuable reference tool for those professional researchers in these fields requiring an authoritative and up-to-date overview of the topic, as well as providing an accessible treatment of evolutionary mechanisms for molecular and cellular biologists.
About the author
Graham Bell is a professor of biology at McGill University in Montreal. He has published many articles on ecology and evolution, and three books: the Masterpiece of Nature (1982), Sex and Death in Protozoa (1988) and Selection (1996).