Get The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection essential facts below. View Videos or join the The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection discussion. Add The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
In the preface, Fisher considers some general points, including that there must be an understanding of natural selection distinct from that of evolution, and that the then-recent advances in the field of genetics (see history of genetics) now allowed this. In the first chapter, Fisher considers the nature of inheritance, rejecting blending inheritance, because it would eliminate genetic variance, in favour of particulate inheritance. The second chapter introduces Fisher's fundamental theorem of natural selection. The third considers the evolution of dominance, which Fisher believed was strongly influenced by modifiers. Other chapters discuss parental investment, Fisher's geometric model, concerning how spontaneous mutations affect biological fitness, Fisher's principle which explains why the sex ratio between males and females is almost always 1:1, reproductive value, examining the demography of having girl children. Using his knowledge of statistics, the Fisherian runaway, which explores how sexual selection can lead to a positive feedback runaway loop, producing features such as the peacock'splumage. He also wrote about the evolution of dominance, which explores genetic dominance. The last five chapters (8-12) include Fisher's more idiosyncratic views on eugenics.
A second, slightly revised edition was republished in 1958. In 1999, a third variorum edition (ISBN0-19-850440-3), with the original 1930 text, annotated with the 1958 alterations, notes and alterations accidentally omitted from the second edition was published, edited by professor John Henry Bennett of the University of Adelaide.
The book is dedicated to Major Leonard Darwin, Fisher's friend, correspondent and son of Charles Darwin, "In gratitude for the encouragement, given to the author, during the last fifteen years, by discussing many of the problems dealt with in this book."
The book was reviewed by Charles Galton Darwin, who sent Fisher his copy of the book, with notes in the margin, starting a correspondence which lasted several years. The book also had a major influence on W. D. Hamilton's theories on the genetic basis of kin selection.
John Henry Bennett gave an account of the writing and reception of the book.
This is a book which, as a student, I weighed as of equal importance to the entire rest of my undergraduate Cambridge BA course and, through the time I spent on it, I think it notched down my degree. Most chapters took me weeks, some months;...And little modified even by molecular genetics, Fisher's logic and ideas still underpin most of the ever broadening paths by which Darwinism continues its invasion of human thought.
For a book that I rate only second in importance in evolution theory to Darwin's "Origin" (this as joined with its supplement "of Man"), and also rate as undoubtedly one of the greatest books of the twentieth century the appearance of a variorum edition is a major event....
Unlike in 1958, natural selection has become part of the syllabus of our intellectual life and the topic is certainly included in every decent course in biology. By the time of my ultimate graduation, will I have understood all that is true in this book and will I get a First? I doubt it. In some ways some of us have overtaken Fisher; in many, however, this brilliant, daring man is still far in front.
^The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002) by Stephen Jay Gould, Chapter 7, section "Synthesis as Restriction" Gould quotes Fisher "The whole group of theories which ascribe to hypothetical physiological mechanisms, controlling the occurrence of mutations, a power of directing the course of evolution, must be set aside, once the blending theory of inheritance is abandoned. The sole surviving theory is that of Natural Selection" The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection (1930, p. 20)
^The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002) by Stephen Jay Gould, Chapter 7, section "Synthesis as Restriction" Gould further quotes Fisher "For mutations to dominate the trend of evolution it is thus necessary to postulate mutation rates immensely greater than those which are known to occur, and of an order of magnitude which, in general, would be incompatible with particulate inheritance" The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection (1930, p. 20)