Review

Nature Reviews Genetics 6, 119-127 (February 2005) | doi:10.1038/nrg1523

The genetic theory of adaptation: a brief history

H. Allen Orr1  About the author

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Theoretical studies of adaptation have exploded over the past decade. This work has been inspired by recent, surprising findings in the experimental study of adaptation. For example, morphological evolution sometimes involves a modest number of genetic changes, with some individual changes having a large effect on the phenotype or fitness. Here I survey the history of adaptation theory, focusing on the rise and fall of various views over the past century and the reasons for the slow development of a mature theory of adaptation. I also discuss the challenges that face contemporary theories of adaptation.

Author affiliations

  1. Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.
    Email: aorr@mail.rochester.edu

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