Outline of Evolutionary Biology
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Outline of Evolutionary Biology

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to evolution:

A diagram showing the relationships between various groups of organisms

Evolution - change in heritable traits of biological organisms over generations due to natural selection, mutation, gene flow, and genetic drift. Also known as descent with modification. Over time these evolutionary processes lead to formation of new species (speciation), changes within lineages (anagenesis), and loss of species (extinction). "Evolution" is also another name for evolutionary biology, the subfield of biology concerned with studying evolutionary processes that produced the diversity of life on Earth.

Fundamentals about evolution


Introduction

  • Introduction to evolution – non-technical overview of the subject of biological evolution
  • Evolution – Change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over successive generations
  • Evolution as fact and theory – Discussion of the meaning and usage of the terms evolution, fact and theory

Basic principles

  • Macroevolution – Evolution on a scale at or above the level of species
    • Speciation – Evolutionary process by which populations evolve to become distinct species
      • Natural speciation
        • Allopatric speciation – Speciation that occurs between geographically isolated populations
        • Peripatric speciation – Speciation in which a new species is formed from an isolated smaller peripheral population
        • Parapatric speciation – Speciation within a population where subpopulations are reproductively isolated
        • Sympatric speciation – Process through which new species evolve from a single ancestral species while inhabiting the same geographic region
      • Artificial speciation
        • Animal husbandry – Management, selective breeding, and care of farm animals by humans
        • Plant breeding – Art and science of changing the traits of plants in order to produce desired characteristics
        • Genetic engineering – Direct manipulation of an organism's genome using biotechnology
      • Hybrid speciation – Form of speciation involving hybridization between two different species
    • Despeciation – Loss of a unique species of animal due to its combining with another previously distinct species
    • Anagenesis – Gradual evolutionary change in a species without splitting
    • Extinction – Termination of a taxon by the death of the last member
  • Microevolution – Change in allele frequencies that occurs over time within a population
    • Artificial selection – Breeding used to develop desired characteristics
    • Natural selection – Mechanism of evolution by differential survival and reproduction of individuals
      • Sexual selection – Mode of natural selection involving the choosing of and competition for mates
    • Mutation – Alteration in the nucleotide sequence of a genome
    • Gene flow – Transfer of genetic variation from one population to another
    • Genetic drift – Change in the frequency of an existing gene variant in a population

Subfields

  • Biology – Science that studies life
    • Evolutionary biology – Study of the processes that produced the diversity of life
    • Genetics – Science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms
  • Biogeography – Study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geographic space and through geological time
  • Ecological genetics – Study of genetics in natural populations
  • Evolutionary biology – Study of the processes that produced the diversity of life
  • Evolutionary ecology – Interaction of biology and evolution
  • Evolutionary physiology – Study of changes over time in a population's physiological characteristics in response to natural selection
  • Evolutionary taxonomy – Form of biological classification
  • Experimental evolution – Use of laboratory and field experiments to explore evolutionary dynamics
  • Molecular evolution – Process of change in the sequence composition of cellular molecules across generations
  • Phylogenetics – Study of evolutionary relationships between organisms
  • Population genetics – Study of genetic differences within and between populations including the study of adaptation, speciation, and population structure
  • Paleontology – The scientific study of life prior to roughly 11,700 years ago
  • Systematics – Study of the diversification and relationships among living things through time

History

Evolutionary theory and modelling

See also Basic principles (above)

Population genetics

  • Population genetics – Study of genetic differences within and between populations including the study of adaptation, speciation, and population structure
  • Process
    • Mutation – Alteration in the nucleotide sequence of a genome
    • Selection
    • Gene flow – Transfer of genetic variation from one population to another
    • Genetic drift – Change in the frequency of an existing gene variant in a population
      • Small population size – Statistical effects of small numbers on a population
      • Population bottleneck – Effects of a sharp reduction in numbers on the diversity and robustness of a population
      • Founder effect – Loss of genetic variation resulting from a few individuals establishing a new population in the world
      • Coalescent theory – Model for tracing the history of genetic variation
  • Variation
    • Genetic variation – The concept and mechanisms of variation in alleles of genes
      • Genetic diversity – Total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species
      • Gene frequency – The relative frequency of a variant of a gene at a particular locus in a population
      • Polymorphism (biology) – Occurrence of two or more clearly different morphs or forms in the population of a species
  • Key concepts
  • Effects of selection
  • Related topics
    • Microevolution – Change in allele frequencies that occurs over time within a population
    • Evolutionary game theory – The application of game theory to evolving populations in biology
    • Fitness landscape – Model used to visualise relationship between genotypes and reproductive success
    • Genetic genealogy – Use of DNA testing in combination with traditional genealogical methods to infer relationships between individuals and find ancestors
    • Quantitative genetics – Study of the inheritance of continuously variable traits

Evolutionary phenomena

Modelling

Taxonomy, systematics, and phylogeny

Fundamentals

Basic concepts of phylogenetics

  • Phylogenetic tree – Branching diagram of evolutionary relationships between organisms
  • Phylogenetic network – Graph used to visualize evolutionary relationships, including reticulation events
  • Long branch attraction – Form of systematic error whereby distantly related lineages are incorrectly inferred to be closely related
  • Clade – Group of a common ancestor and all descendants
  • Grade – Non-monophyletic grouping of organisms united by morphological or physiological characteristics
  • Ghost lineage – Phylogenetic lineage that is inferred to exist but has no fossil record

Inference methods

Current topics

Group Traits

  • Symplesiomorphy – An ancestral character or trait state shared by two or more taxa
  • Apomorphy – Shared distinguishing characteristic of a clade
  • Synapomorphy – Shared distinguishing characteristic of a clade
  • Autapomorphy – Distinctive feature, known as a derived trait, that is unique to a given taxon

Group Types

  • Monophyly – Property of a group of including all taxa descendant from a common ancestral species
  • Paraphyly – Property of a group which includes only descendants of a common ancestor, but excludes at least one monophyletic subgroup
  • Polyphyly – Set of organisms that do not share an immediate common ancestor

Evolution of biodiversity

Origin and evolutionary history of life

Evolution of organisms

Evolution of tetrapods

Evolution of other animals

Evolution of plants

Evolution of other taxa

Evolution of cells, organs, and systems

Evolution of molecules and genes

  • Directed evolution – Method used in protein engineering that mimics the process of natural selection to steer proteins or nucleic acids toward a user-defined goal
  • Error threshold (evolution) – Limit on the number of base pairs a self-replicating molecule may have before mutation will destroy the information in subsequent generations of the molecule
  • Gene-centered view of evolution – Reasoning that since heritable information is passed from generation to generation almost exclusively by DNA, natural selection and evolution are best considered from the perspective of genes
  • Genome evolution – Process by which a genome changes in structure or size over time
  • Hologenome theory of evolution – Evolutionary view of an individual multicellular organism as a community of the host plus all of its symbiotic microbes
  • Models of DNA evolution – Markov models used in phylogeny to describe rates of nucleotide exchanges during the evolution of DNA sequences
  • Molecular evolution – Process of change in the sequence composition of cellular molecules across generations
  • Neutral network (evolution) – Set of genes all related by point mutations that have equivalent function or fitness
  • RNA-based evolution – Theory that RNA plays an independent role in determining phenotype

Evolution of behaviour

  • Co-operation (evolution) – Evolutionary process where groups of organisms work or act together for common or mutual benefits
  • Evolution of biparental care in tropical frogs – The evolution of the behaviour in frogs in which both the mother and father raise their offspring
  • Evolution of emotion – Study of the evolution of emotions
  • Evolution of empathy – Capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing
  • Evolution of eusociality – Origins of cooperative brood care, overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and a division of labor into reproductive and non-reproductive groups.
  • Monogamy in animals – Natural history of mating systems in which species pair bond to raise offspring
  • Reciprocal altruism – Behaviour whereby an organism acts in a manner that temporarily reduces its fitness while increasing another organism's fitness in the expectation of reciprocity
  • Reciprocity (evolution) – Mechanisms whereby the evolution of cooperative or altruistic behaviour may be favoured by the probability of future mutual interactions

Evolution of other processes

Applications in other disciplines

Evolutionary issues

Controversy about evolution

Religious and philosophical views of evolution

Influence of evolutionary theory

Publications and organizations concerning evolution

Books

Journals

Organizations

Evolution scholars and researchers

Prominent evolutionary biologists

See also

External links

General information
  • Evolution on In Our Time at the BBC
  • "Evolution". New Scientist. Retrieved 2011.
  • "Evolution Resources from the National Academies". U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2011.
  • "Understanding Evolution: your one-stop resource for information on Evolution". University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 2011.
  • "Evolution of Evolution - 150 Years of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species"". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2011.
  • Human Timeline (Interactive) - Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History (August 2016).
Experiments concerning the process of biological evolution
Online lectures

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