The engine of evolution is the combination of all forces that drive evolution. These pages take an introductory look at them.
Have you ever wondered why biologists believe that the theory of evolution is so important? Well, here may be a chance for you to catch up.
The theory of evolution is so important, because it starts with observations that can be made today. These observations suggest mechanisms that allow us to make predictions about nature and these predictions can in turn be tested by observations. It is precisely this cycle of predictions and observations that has made evolutionary theory as strong as it is today. While it is true that one can also use evolution as the basis for endless and fruitless speculations, it is much more important to note that evolutionary theory has a number of practical applications in today's world.
This folder contains some selected introductions to some mechanistic aspects of evolution. The following pages are currently under construction and are offered in the hope to motivate the reader to learn more about evolution. Here is a pointer to introductions to important forces of evolution. Some of these texts are on this site, some of them elsewhere:
Mutations in proteins, genes and genomes: introduction on this site.
Genetic mutation introduction: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Genetic-Mutation-1127
Negative selection introduction: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Negative-Selection-1136
Natural selection: Uncovering mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation to infectious disease http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Natural-Selection-Uncovering-Mechanisms-of-Evolutionary-Adaptation-34539
- Genetic drift
Genetic drift and effective population size: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Genetic-Drift-and-Effective-Population-Size-772523
Genetic drift and bottleneck effects: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Genetic-Drift-Bottleneck-Effect-and-the-Case-1118
Neutral Theory: The null hypothesis of molecular evolution: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Neutral-Theory-The-Null-Hypothesis-of-Molecular-839
Sexual reproduction and the evolution of sex: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Sexual-Reproduction-and-the-Evolution-of-Sex-824
Hybridisation and gene flow: http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/Hybridization-and-Gene-Flow-34546
If you are interested in a simple computer program that illustrates simple evolutionary processes for teaching purposes, you might want to look athttp://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/The-EvolGenius-Population-Genetics-Computer-Simulation-How-1167841