Outline of evolution


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  The 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  The 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  The transfer of genetic variation from one population to another
    • Genetic drift  The change in the frequency of an existing gene variant in a population

Subfields

  • Biology  Science that studies life
    • Evolutionary biology  The study of the processes that produced the diversity of life
    • Genetics  Science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms
  • Biogeography  The study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geographic space and through geological time
  • Ecological genetics  The study of genetics in natural populations
  • Evolutionary biology  The 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  The 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  The transfer of genetic variation from one population to another
    • Genetic drift  The 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  The 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
      • 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  The 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  The 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  The 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  The 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  The 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