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Neutralism

Plutynski, A (2007) Neutralism. Neutralism. pp. 129-141.

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Abstract

The neutral theory of molecular evolution was one of the most controversial theories in biology in the late twentieth century. On the one hand, the reaction of many biologists was extremely
skeptical; how could evolution be “non-Darwinian”? Many biologists claimed that a “non-Darwinian” theory of evolution was simply a contradiction in terms. On the other hand, some molecular biologists accepted without question that many changes at the molecular level from one generation to the next were neutral. Indeed, when King and
Jukes’ paper was first submitted, it was rejected on the grounds that one reviewer claimed it was obviously false, and the other claimed that it was obviously true (Jukes, 1991). Why were some biologists so skeptical and others so nonchalant about the neutral theory? Why was the neutral theory so controversial? What evidence and argument was originally offered on behalf of the theory? What is meant by the claim that “drift” operates at the molecular level? What is “drift” in the context of the neutral theory, and how, if at all, is it distinct from drift operating at higher levels in evolution? This entry explores these questions.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Plutynski, Aaplutyns@wustl.edu
Keywords: drift, chance, evolution, molecular biology, molecular evolution, neutral theory
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: A Plutynski
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2018 00:47
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2018 00:47
Item ID: 15322
Journal or Publication Title: Neutralism
Publisher: Elsevier
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 2007
Page Range: pp. 129-141
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15322

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