Nerve cells ZEISS Microscopy/Flickr

Evolution’s New Frontiers

Recent breakthroughs in our understanding of molecular mechanisms have revolutionized many fields of biology, including cell biology and developmental biology. So it is no surprise that these advances are providing valuable insights into the field of evolutionary biology as well.

MISHIMA – Recent breakthroughs in our understanding of molecular mechanisms have revolutionized many fields of biology, including cell biology and developmental biology. So it is no surprise that these advances are providing valuable insights into the field of evolutionary biology as well, including evidence supporting the nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution that I developed in 1973.

As is typical in science, each new discovery in evolutionary biology raises as many questions as it answers. Indeed, my field is now going through one of the most dynamic periods in its 150-year history.

For roughly a century after the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, scientists believed that genetic mutations were governed by a process similar to that described by the father of natural selection. The idea was that individuals with superior genetic variants would be more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on their genes than those without them.

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