Reflexões sobre a previsibilidade da evolução: por uma estrutura conceitual

quarta-feira, abril 07, 2021


Volume 23, Issue 11, 20 November 2020, 101736

Reflections on the Predictability of Evolution: Toward a Conceptual Framework

AlixMas 1, 2 Yvan Lagadeuc 1, Philippe Vandenkoornhuyse 1

1 Université de Rennes 1, CNRS, UMR6553 ECOBIO, Campus Beaulieu, Avenue Leclerc, Rennes Cedex 35042, France

Available online 27 October 2020.

The “Evolutionary Funnel” Showing the Constraints That Shape Evolutionary Possibilities


Evolution is generally considered to be unpredictable because genetic variations are known to occur randomly. However, remarkable patterns of repeated convergent evolution are observed, for instance, loss of pigments by organisms living in caves. Analogous phenotypes appear in similar environments, sometimes in response to similar constraints. Alongside randomness, a certain evolutionary determinism also exists, for instance, the selection of particular phenotypes subjected to particular environmental constraints in the “evolutionary funnel.” We pursue the idea that eco-evolutionary specialization is in some way determinist. The conceptual framework of phenotypic changes entailing specialization presented in this essay explains how evolution can be predicted. We also discuss how the predictability of evolution could be tested using the case of metabolic specialization through gene losses. We also put forward that microorganisms could be key models to test and possibly make headway evolutionary predictions and knowledge about evolution.