Evolvability articles from across Nature Portfolio

Evolvability is the degree to which a biological system can evolve into a diversity of adaptive solutions to future environments. Two organisms with the same phenotype and fitness in a current environment may differ in their evolvability, owing to differences in the cryptic evolutionary potential of their genomes.

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    Fitness landscapes were described almost a century ago as smooth surfaces with peaks and valleys that are difficult to navigate. Now, more realistic high-dimensional genotype–phenotype maps show that fitness maxima can be reached from almost any other phenotype while avoiding fitness valleys, which are very rare.

    • Jacobo Aguirre