Outline of evolution

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to evolution:

A diagram showing the relationships betweens various groups of organisms

Evolution – change in heritable traits of biological organisms over generations due to natural selection, mutation, gene flow, and genetic drift. Also known as descent with modification. Over time these evolutionary processes lead to formation of new species (speciation), changes within lineages (anagenesis), and loss of species (extinction). "Evolution" is also another name for evolutionary biology, the subfield of biology concerned with studying evolutionary processes that produced the diversity of life on Earth.

Fundamentals about evolution[edit]

Introduction[edit]

  • Introduction to evolution – A non-technical explanation of the basic concepts and principles of biological evolution
  • Evolution – Change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations
  • Evolution as fact and theory – A discussion of the meaning and usage of the terms evolution, fact and theory

Basic principles[edit]

  • Macroevolution – Evolution on a scale at or above the level of species
    • Speciation – The evolutionary process by which populations evolve to become distinct species
      • Natural speciation
        • Allopatric speciation – Speciation that occurs between geographically isolated populations
        • Peripatric speciation – Speciation in which a new species is formed from an isolated smaller peripheral population
        • Parapatric speciation – Speciation within a population where subpopulations are reproductively isolated
        • Sympatric speciation – A process through which new species evolve from a single ancestral species while inhabiting the same geographic region
      • Artificial speciation
        • Animal husbandry – Management, selective breeding, and care of farm animals by humans
        • Plant breeding – The art and science of changing the traits of plants in order to produce desired characteristics
        • Genetic engineering – Direct manipulation of an organism's genome using biotechnology
      • Hybrid speciation – A form of speciation where hybridization between two different species leads to a new species, reproductively isolated from the parent species
    • Despeciation – The loss of a unique species of animal due to its combining with another previously distinct species
    • Anagenesis – Gradual evolutionary change in a species without splitting
    • Extinction – Termination of a taxon by the death of the last member
  • Microevolution – The change in allele frequencies that occurs over time within a population
    • Artificial selection – Process by which humans use animal and plant breeding to selectively develop particular phenotypic traits
    • Natural selection – Mechanism of evolution by differential survival and reproduction of individuals
      • Sexual selection – A mode of natural selection wherein members of one biological sex choose mates of the other sex, and compete with members of the same sex
    • Mutation – A permanent change of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism
    • Gene flow – The transfer of genetic variation from one population to another
    • Genetic drift – The change in the frequency of an existing gene variant in a population

Subfields[edit]

  • Biogeography – The study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geographic space and through geological time
  • Ecological genetics – The study of genetics in natural populations
  • Evolutionary biology – Study of the processes that produced the diversity of life
  • Evolutionary ecology – Study of how interactions among species and between species and their environment affect species through selection and adaptation
  • Evolutionary physiology – Study of how the functional characteristics of individuals in a population of organisms have responded to selection across multiple generations
  • Evolutionary taxonomy – Classification of organisms based on shared descent, serial descent, and degree of evolutionary change
  • Experimental evolution – Use of laboratory and field experiments to explore evolutionary dynamics
  • Molecular evolution – The process of change in the sequence composition of cellular molecules across generations
  • Phylogenetics – Study of the evolutionary history and relationships among individuals or groups of organisms
  • Population genetics – Study of genetic differences within and between populations including the study of adaptation, speciation, and population structure
  • Paleontology – Scientific study of prehistoric life
  • Systematics – The study of the diversification and relationships among living things through time

History[edit]

Evolutionary theory and modelling[edit]

See also Basic principles (above)

Population genetics[edit]

  • Population genetics – Study of genetic differences within and between populations including the study of adaptation, speciation, and population structure
  • Process
    • Mutation – A permanent change of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism
    • Selection
      • Natural selection – Mechanism of evolution by differential survival and reproduction of individuals
        • Sexual selection – A mode of natural selection wherein members of one biological sex choose mates of the other sex, and compete with members of the same sex
      • Artificial selection – Process by which humans use animal and plant breeding to selectively develop particular phenotypic traits
      • Ecological selection – Natural selection without sexual selection
    • Gene flow – The transfer of genetic variation from one population to another
    • Genetic drift – The change in the frequency of an existing gene variant in a population
      • Small population size – Statistical effects of small numbers on a population
      • Population bottleneck – The effects of a sharp reduction in numbers on the diversity and robustness of the population
      • Founder effect – Loss of genetic variation that occurs when a new population is established by a very small number of individuals
      • Coalescent theory – A model for tracing the history of genetic variation
  • Variation
    • Genetic variation – The concept and mechanisms of variation in alleles of genes
      • Genetic diversity – The total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species
      • Gene frequency – The relative frequency of a variant of a gene at a particular locus in a population
      • Polymorphism (biology) – Occurrence of two or more clearly different morphs or forms in the population of a species
  • Key concepts
    • Hardy-Weinberg law – Allele and genotype frequencies in a population will remain constant over generations in the absence of other evolutionary influences
    • Genetic linkage – The tendency of DNA sequences that are close together on a chromosome to be inherited together
    • Identity by descent – Identical nucleotide sequence due to inheritance without recombination from a common ancestor
    • Linkage disequilibrium – The non-random association of alleles at two or more genetic loci (either on the same or different chromosome)
    • Fisher's fundamental theorem – A principle relating genetic variance to fitness
    • Neutral theory – Most evolutionary changes at molecular level are not caused by natural selection but by genetic drift of mutant alleles that do not affect an organism's abiity to survive and reproduce
    • Shifting balance theory – A theory suggesting that adaptive evolution may proceed most quickly when subpopulations have restricted gene flow
    • Price equation – Description of how a trait or gene changes in frequency over time
    • Coefficient of relationship – A measure of the degree of biological relationship between two individuals
    • Fitness – The average contribution to the gene pool of the next generation made by individuals of the specified genotype or phenotype
    • Heritability – Estimation of effect of genetic variation on phenotypic variation of a trait
  • Effects of selection
  • Related topics
    • Microevolution – The change in allele frequencies that occurs over time within a population
    • Evolutionary game theory – The application of game theory to evolving populations in biology
    • Fitness landscape – Model used to visualise relationship between genotypes and reproductive success
    • Genetic genealogy – The use of DNA testing in combination with traditional genealogical methods to infer relationships between individuals and find ancestors
    • Quantitative genetics – The study of the inheritance of continuously variable traits

Evolutionary phenomena[edit]

Modelling[edit]

  • Emergent evolution – The hypothesis that, in the course of evolution, some entirely new properties, such as mind and consciousness, appear at certain critical points
  • Epic of evolution – A narrative that blends religious and scientific views of cosmic, biological and sociocultural evolution in a mythological manner
  • Evolution window – A narrow band of mutation step size that is conducive to significant evolutionary progress
  • Evolutionary dynamics – The study of the mathematical principles according to which biological organisms and cultural ideas evolve
  • Evolutionary game theory – The application of game theory to evolving populations in biology
  • Evolutionary graph theory – An approach to studying how topology affects evolution of a population
  • Evolutionary invasion analysis – Mathematical modeling techniques that use differential equations to study the long-term evolution of traits in asexually reproducing populations
  • Largest-scale trends in evolution – The low end minimum limit for complexity of living organisms may result in a general gradual trend for increased complexity over time

Taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeny[edit]

Fundamentals[edit]

  • Taxonomy – The science of identifying, describing, defining and naming groups of biological organisms
  • Systematics – The study of the diversification and relationships among living things through time
    • Cladogram – A diagram used to show relations among groups of organisms with common origins
    • Phylogenetic tree – Diagrammatic hypothesis about the evolutionary relationships of a group of organisms
  • Phylogenetics – Study of the evolutionary history and relationships among individuals or groups of organisms
    • Cladistics – A method of biological systematics in evolutionary biology
    • Computational phylogenetics – The application of computational algorithms, methods, and programs to phylogenetic analyses
    • Common descent – Characteristic of a group of organisms with a common ancestor
    • Evidence of common descent – Evidence that a given group of organisms have a common ancestor, and therefore that evolution has taken place.
    • Evolutionary grade – Non-monophyletic grouping of organisms united by morphological or physiological characteristics
    • Lineage (evolution) – Sequence of populations, organisms, cells, or genes that form a line of descent
    • Molecular phylogenetics – The branch of phylogeny that analyzes genetic, hereditary molecular differences
    • Most recent common ancestor – Most recent individual from which all organisms in a group are directly descended

Basic concepts of phylogenetics[edit]

  • Phylogenetic tree – Diagrammatic hypothesis about the evolutionary relationships of a group of organisms
  • Phylogenetic network – Any graph used to visualize evolutionary relationships
  • Long branch attraction – A form of systematic error whereby distantly related lineages are incorrectly inferred to be closely related
  • Clade – A group of organisms that consists of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants
  • Grade – Non-monophyletic grouping of organisms united by morphological or physiological characteristics
  • Ghost lineage – A phylogenetic lineage that is inferred to exist but has no fossil record.

Inference methods[edit]

Current topics[edit]

Group Traits[edit]

  • Symplesiomorphy – An ancestral character or trait state shared by two or more taxa
  • Apomorphy – A shared characteristic that differs from the earlier ancestors that distinguishes a clade from other organisms
  • Synapomorphy – A shared characteristic that differs from the earlier ancestors that distinguishes a clade from other organisms
  • Autapomorphy – A distinctive feature, known as a derived trait, that is unique to a given taxon

Group Types[edit]

  • Monophyly – Property of a group of including all taxa descendant from a common ancestral species
  • Paraphyly – Property of a group which includes only descendants of a common ancestor, but excludes at least one monophyletic subgroup
  • Polyphyly – A set of organisms that do not share an immediate common ancestor

Evolution of biodiversity[edit]

Origin and evolutionary history of life[edit]

Evolution of organisms[edit]

Evolution of tetrapods[edit]

Evolution of other animals[edit]

Evolution of plants[edit]

Evolution of other taxa[edit]

Evolution of cells, organs, and systems[edit]

Evolution of molecules and genes[edit]

  • Directed evolution – A method used in protein engineering that mimics the process of natural selection to steer proteins or nucleic acids toward a user-defined goal
  • Error threshold (evolution) – A limit on the number of base pairs a self-replicating molecule may have before mutation will destroy the information in subsequent generations of the molecule
  • Evolution of DNA
  • Evolution of dominance
  • Gene-centered view of evolution – Reasoning that since heritable information is passed from generation to generation almost exclusively by DNA, natural selection and evolution are best considered from the perspective of genes
  • Genome evolution – The process by which a genome changes in structure or size over time
  • Hologenome theory of evolution – Evolutionary view of an individual multicellular organism as a community of the host plus all of its symbiotic microbes
  • Molecular evolution – The process of change in the sequence composition of cellular molecules across generations
  • Neutral network (evolution) – A set of genes all related by point mutations that have equivalent function or fitness
  • RNA-based evolution – A theory that posits that RNA is a dynamic and independent role-player in determining phenotype

Evolution of behaviour[edit]

  • Co-operation (evolution) – Evolutionary process where groups of organisms work or act together for common or mutual benefits
  • Evolution of biparental care in tropical frogs – The evolution of the behaviour in frogs in which both the mother and father raise their offspring
  • Evolution of emotion – Study of the evolution of emotions
  • Evolution of empathy – The capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing
  • Evolution of eusociality – Origins of cooperative brood care, overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and a division of labor into reproductive and non-reproductive groups.
  • Monogamy in animals – The natural history of mating systems in which species pair bond to raise offspring
  • Reciprocal altruism – Behaviour whereby an organism acts in a manner that temporarily reduces its fitness while increasing another organism's fitness in the expectation of reciprocity
  • Reciprocity (evolution) – Mechanisms whereby the evolution of cooperative or altruistic behaviour may be favoured by the probability of future mutual interactions

Evolution of other processes[edit]

Applications in other disciplines[edit]

Evolutionary issues[edit]

Controversy about evolution[edit]

Religious and philosophical views of evolution[edit]

  • Acceptance of evolution by religious groups – General review of religious attitudes towards scientific descriptions of evolution, and where relevant, their counterclaims
  • Atheistic evolution
  • Conscious evolution – The hypothetical ability of the human species to choose what they will become
  • Buddhism and evolution – As no major principles of Buddhism contradict it, many Buddhists tacitly accept the theory of evolution
  • Catholic Church and evolution – The Catholic Church supports theistic evolutionism, although Catholics are free not to believe in any part of evolutionary theory
  • Hindu views on evolution – There is no major conflict between the religious beliefs of Hinduism and acceptance of the science of evolution
  • Islamic views on evolution – Islamic views on evolution are diverse, ranging from theistic evolution to Old Earth creationism
  • Jewish views on evolution – Jewish views on evolution includes a continuum of views about the theory of evolution
  • Mormon views on evolution – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes no official position on whether or not biological evolution has occurred
  • Theistic evolution – Views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution

Influence of evolutionary theory[edit]

Publications and organizations concerning evolution[edit]

Books[edit]

Journals[edit]

Organizations[edit]

Evolution scholars and researchers[edit]

Prominent evolutionary biologists[edit]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

External links[edit]

General information
  • Evolution on In Our Time at the BBC
  • "Evolution". New Scientist. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  • "Evolution Resources from the National Academies". U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  • "Understanding Evolution: your one-stop resource for information on Evolution". University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  • "Evolution of Evolution – 150 Years of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species"". National Science Foundation. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
  • Human Timeline (Interactive)Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History (August 2016).
Experiments concerning the process of biological evolution
Online lectures