Natural Selection: Domains, Levels, and Challenges

By George C. Williams | Go to book overview

3
Clade selection and macroevolution

Chapter 2 proposed that genes and, sometimes, genotypes of inbred or asexual lineages meet requirements for the precise long-term proliferation needed by units of selection in the codical domain. If the same can be true of gene pools, they must also be considered as likely codices for the natural selection of information. A gene pool and all its descendant gene pools constitute a clade, the usual sort of entity represented by diagrams such as Fig. 2.1A. Discussions of higher levels of selection are not always clear as to whether collections of gene pools or of organisms living at a particular moment are being considered. My use of gene and clade as strictly codical concepts demands other terms for their physical manifestations (Table 3.1). My consistent use of the term clade selection always implies a parallel phylad selection in the material domain. This is reasonable because of the simple one-to-one relation between the codex

Table 3.1 Levels of selection in the codical domain and the physical manifestation of each. The level genotype would not be a level of selection when reproduction is sexual.

Codex level Physical manifestation
Gene DNA molecule and its products and later phenotypic
effects (unit character, or alteration of some
quantitative or numerical character)
Genotype Soma(ta). Different genotypes may produce different
somatic phenotypes
Gene pool Mendelian population
Clade Group of
related Phylad,*with or without formal taxonomic recognition
gene pools
* A term used in much the same sense by Carson ( 1989).

-23-

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Natural Selection: Domains, Levels, and Challenges
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - A philosophical position 3
  • 2 - The gene as a unit of selection 10
  • 3 - Clade selection and macroevolution 23
  • 4 - Levels of selection among interactors 38
  • 5 - Optimization and related concepts 56
  • 6 - Historicity and constraint 72
  • 7 - Diversity within and among populations 89
  • 8 - Some recent issues 106
  • 9 - Stasis 127
  • 10 - Other challenges and anomalies 143
  • References 154
  • Appendix: Excerpts from some classic works on adaptation 190
  • Index 203
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