Nature 445, 383-386 (25 January 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05451

Empirical fitness landscapes reveal accessible evolutionary paths

Frank J. Poelwijk1,4, Daniel J. Kiviet1,4, Daniel M. Weinreich2,3 & Sander J. Tans1

When attempting to understand evolution, we traditionally rely on analysing evolutionary outcomes, despite the fact that unseen intermediates determine its course. A handful of recent studies has begun to explore these intermediate evolutionary forms, which can be reconstructed in the laboratory. With this first view on empirical evolutionary landscapes, we can now finally start asking why particular evolutionary paths are taken.

  1. FOM Institute AMOLF, Kruislaan 407, 1098 SJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 16 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
  3. Present address: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Center for Computational Molecular Biology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02192, USA.
  4. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to: Sander J. Tans1 Correspondence should be addressed to S.J.T. (Email:

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