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Evolutionary suicide

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Evolutionary suicide is an evolutionary phenomenon in which the process of adaptation causes the population to become extinct.[1] It provides an alternative explanation for extinction, which is due to misadaptation rather than failure to adapt.[1]

For example, individuals might be selected to destroy own food (e.g. switch from eating mature plants to seedlings), and thereby deplete their food plant's population. Selection on individuals can theoretically produce adaptations that threaten the survival of the population.[2] Much of the research on evolutionary suicide has used the mathematical modeling technique adaptive dynamics, in which genetic changes are studied together with population dynamics. This allows the model to predict how population density will change as a given so called kamikaze mutant with a certain phenotypic trait invades the population.[1] At first, a kamikaze mutant has an advantage in reproduction, but once it spreads throughout the population, the population collapses.[1]

Evolutionary suicide has also been referred to as Darwinian extinction,[2] evolution to extinction[3] and evolutionary collapse.[4] The idea is similar in concept to the tragedy of the commons and the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, namely that they are all examples of an accumulation of individual changes leading to a collective disaster such that it negates those individual changes.

Many adaptations have apparently negative effects on population dynamics, for example infanticide by male lions, or the production of toxins by bacteria. However, empirically establishing that an extinction event was unambiguously caused by the process of adaptation is not a trivial task.

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  1. ^ a b c d Parvinen, Kalle (1 December 2005). "Evolutionary suicide". Acta Biotheoretica. 53 (3): 241–264. doi:10.1007/s10441-005-2531-5. ISSN 1572-8358. PMID 16329010. S2CID 7109095.
  2. ^ a b Ibrahim, Ahmed (June 2014). "Invasive cancer as an empirical example of evolutionary suicide". Network Biology: 58–66. ProQuest 1520634036.
  3. ^ Lehtinen, Sami O (1 February 2021). "Ecological and evolutionary consequences of predator-prey role reversal: Allee effect and catastrophic predator extinction". Journal of Theoretical Biology. 510: 110542. Bibcode:2021JThBi.51010542L. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2020.110542. ISSN 1095-8541. PMID 33242490.
  4. ^ Dieckmann, Ulf; Ferrière, Régis (2004). "Adaptive Dynamics and Evolving Biodiversity". Evolutionary Conservation Biology. Cambridge Studies in Adaptive Dynamics. Cambridge University Press: 188–224. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511542022.015. ISBN 978-0-521-82700-3.

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