Splendor and misery of adaptation, or the importance of neutral null for understanding evolution
Eugene V. Koonin Email author
DOI: 10.1186/s12915-016-0338-2 © The Author(s). 2016
Published: 23 December 2016
Source/Fonte: Holt Biology
The study of any biological features, including genomic sequences, typically revolves around the question: what is this for? However, population genetic theory, combined with the data of comparative genomics, clearly indicates that such a “pan-adaptationist” approach is a fallacy. The proper question is: how has this sequence evolved? And the proper null hypothesis posits that it is a result of neutral evolution: that is, it survives by sheer chance provided that it is not deleterious enough to be efficiently purged by purifying selection. To claim adaptation, the neutral null has to be falsified. The adaptationist fallacy can be costly, inducing biologists to relentlessly seek function where there is none.
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