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Experimental Evolution

Concepts, Methods, and Applications of Selection Experiments

Theodore Garland

Publication Year: 2009

Experimental approaches to evolution provide indisputable evidence of evolution by directly observing the process at work. Experimental evolution deliberately duplicates evolutionary processes—forcing life histories to evolve, producing adaptations to stressful environmental conditions, and generating lineage splitting to create incipient species. This unique volume summarizes studies in experimental evolution, outlining current techniques and applications, and presenting the field’s full range of research—from selection in the laboratory to the manipulation of populations in the wild. It provides work on such key biological problems as the evolution of Darwinian fitness, sexual reproduction, life history, athletic performance, and learning.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-xii

List of Contributors

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pp. xiii-xviii

Part I: Introduction to Experimental Evolution

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pp. 1-2

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1. Darwin's Other Mistake

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pp. 3-14

We are taught early in our education as evolutionists that Charles Darwin got the mechanism of heredity wrong. He supposed that there are an arbitrary number of ductile transmissible gemmules that migrate from the organs to the gonads, allowing the possibility of a kind of blending inheritance along with the inheritance of acquired characters. ...

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2. The Importance of Experimental Studies in Evolutionary Biology

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pp. 15-30

Experimental studies complement the several other major approaches to analyzing evolutionary processes. Each approach has both advantages and limitations. We first describe the advantages of experimental evolution, and then we contrast it with other approaches. ...

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3. Modeling Experimental Evolution Using Individual-Based Variance Components Models

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pp. 31-64

Experimental evolution as used in this volume encompasses both artificial selection and “laboratory” evolution in which populations are introduced into a novel environment and allowed to breed without any overt selection by the experimenter. Any selection that occurs in laboratory evolution experiments is assumed to be imposed by aspects of the novel environment. ...

Part II: Types of Experimental Evolution

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pp. 65-66

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4. Experimental Evolution from the Bottom Up

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pp. 67-88

One of the most important uses of experimental evolution is the study of natural selection, its causes and its consequences. This involves mapping genotype onto phenotype (genetic architecture; Hanson 2006) and mapping phenotype onto fitness. Implicitly or explicitly, these mappings also include any impact the environment has on each. ...

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5. Experimental Evolutionary Domestication

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pp. 89-110

Many millennia before we understood the basic laws governing biological evolution, we bred our commensal species to our liking, whether for economic or leisure purposes. A range of species from plants to animals were thereby domesticated. In a sense, the longest-running experimental evolution projects are those of domestication, ...

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6. Long-Term Experimental Evolution and Adaptive Radiation

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pp. 111-134

Long-term evolution studies are selection experiments that explore evolutionary consequences. Rather than focusing on the potential for selection to act, which is typical of short-term selection studies, long-term studies emphasize the process and eventual outcome of evolution. ...

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7. The Experimental Study of Reverse Evolution

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pp. 135-172

Darwin was the first to suggest that selection of small differences among individuals for characters related to survival and reproduction was sufficient to promote directional evolutionary change in those characters. Evolution, understood as common descent of organisms with modification over time, was quickly accepted by the scientific community. ...

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8. Field Experiments, Introductions, and Experimental Evolution: A Review and Practical Guide

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pp. 173-194

The field of evolutionary biology has primarily adopted a descriptive approach throughout its history, in large part due to the difficulty of replicating evolutionary processes under controlled conditions. However, experimental approaches provide a powerful tool kit for researchers to disentangle cause and effect ...

Part III: Levels of Observation in Experimental Evolution

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pp. 195-196

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9. Fitness, Demography, and Population Dynamics in Laboratory Experiments

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pp. 197-216

An important theme in this review will be the importance of a close balance between theory and experiments. Theory has as a goal the creation of simple and general principles. Understandably, therefore, theoreticians are often loath to spend too much time and energy worrying about the details of any specific organism’s biology. ...

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10. Laboratory Selection Studies of Life-History Physiology in Insects

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pp. 217-262

The physiological basis of life-history traits and trade-offs has been a long-standing issue in the study of life-history evolution (Fisher 1930; Tinkle and Hadley 1975; Townsend and Calow 1981; Zera and Harshman 2001; Harshman and Zera 2007). Research on this topic has attempted to identify components of physiology ...

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11. Behavior in Neurobiology

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pp. 263-300

The tree of life is decorated with an extraordinary diversity of animal behavior (figure 11.1). Such behaviors as foraging, reproducing, moving through the environment, and avoiding predators are all clearly major determinants of survival and reproductive success and hence are thought to be under relatively strong natural and sexual selection. ...

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12. Selection Experiments and Experimental Evolution of Performance and Physiology

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pp. 301-352

Since a seminal paper by Arnold (1983), direct measurement of whole-organism performance has become central to functional evolutionary biology (e.g., Arnold 2003; Ghalambor et al. 2003; Kingsolver and Huey 2003). In this context, “performance” can be most easily defined by example. ...

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13. Through a Glass, Clearly: Experimental Evolution as a Window on Adaptive Genome Evolution

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pp. 353-388

Genome architecture is defined as the structure, content, and organization of a genome, and it is described in terms of genes, their cis-acting regulatory elements, and various noncoding entities that populate intergenic regions. This useful phrase has an unfortunate tendency to promote the view that genomes are static, ...

Part IV: Applications of Experimental Evolution

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pp. 389-390

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14. Understanding Evolution Through the Phages

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pp. 391-418

The primary goal of experimental evolution is to directly test theories of evolution using controlled experiments. Experiments in the laboratory offer particular control over both environmental conditions and the starting populations for evolutionary experimentation. ...

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15. Experimental Approaches to Studying the Evolution of Animal Form: The Shape of Things to Come

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pp. 419-478

Morphology most often evolves not through the appearance of new or “novel” traits, but through changes in the shape of existing structures (figure 15.1). Thompson presented shape variation as deformations in the dimensions and relative size of body parts (Thompson 1917); ...

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16. Sexual Exploits in Experimental Evolution

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pp. 479-522

Humans tend to be fascinated with sex. This is not surprising, as we are members of an obligate sexual species, composed of males and females that must experience sexual reproduction to make offspring. Thus, many of us are sometimes understandably fixated with actions relating to finding a mate, keeping a mate, and mating itself. ...

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17. Physiological Adaption in Laboratory Environments

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pp. 523-550

Almost any study in experimental evolution requires an altered environment in which selection is expected to occur. Sometimes the environmental variable can be biological (e.g., predators, potential mates). Often, however, it is the abiotic environment that is changed. ...

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18. Evolution of Aging and Late Life

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pp. 551-584

Aging, like all biological characters, evolves. However, unlike many other biological characters, the evolution of aging is not primarily shaped by powerful natural selection balanced against such mitigating factors as clonal interference, linked deleterious alleles, directional mutation, and the like. ...

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19. Theoretical and Experimental Approaches to the Evolution of Altruism and the Levels of Selection

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pp. 585-630

One of the central themes in Donne’s meditation is the interconnectivity between human beings. Our lives are not stand-alone chapters from an edited volume (like the one you are reading), but more like chapters from an elaborate novel, each setting the stage for chapters to come while simultaneously depending on chapters already read. ...

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20. Laboratory Experiments on Speciation

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pp. 631-656

After neglecting the subject for nearly a century after the publication of The Origin of Species, evolutionary biologists have been intensively investigating mechanisms of speciation in the last few decades (reviewed in Barton 2001; Coyne and Orr 2004; Rundle and Nosil 2005; Noor and Feder 2006; Rieseberg and Willis 2007). ...

Part V: Conclusion

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pp. 657-658

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21. A Critique of Experimental Phylogenetics

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pp. 659-670

Already as an undergraduate, I had an inordinate fondness for phylogenetic trees, and few papers sparked my imagination more than one announcing the birth of experimental phylogenetics (Hillis et al. 1992). In that paper, Hillis and colleagues generated experimentally a phylogeny of viruses and used it to compare various phylogenetic methods. ...

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22. Laboratory Evolution Meets Catch-22: Balancing Simplicity and Realism

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pp. 671-702

This book lays out a clear and compelling message: selection experiments are remarkably powerful tools in the armamentarium of evolutionary biologists. We ourselves have often used selection experiments during our careers and certainly expect to use them in the future. ...


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pp. 703-730

Production Notes

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p. 750-750

E-ISBN-13: 9780520944473
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520261808

Page Count: 752
Publication Year: 2009