Title

Evolvability Is Inevitable: Increasing Evolvability without the Pressure to Adapt

Authors

Authors

J. Lehman;K. O. Stanley

Comments

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Abbreviated Journal Title

IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag.

Keywords

EVOLUTION; Multidisciplinary Sciences

Abstract

Why evolvability appears to have increased over evolutionary time is an important unresolved biological question. Unlike most candidate explanations, this paper proposes that increasing evolvability can result without any pressure to adapt. The insight is that if evolvability is heritable, then an unbiased drifting process across genotypes can still create a distribution of phenotypes biased towards evolvability, because evolvable organisms diffuse more quickly through the space of possible phenotypes. Furthermore, because phenotypic divergence often correlates with founding niches, niche founders may on average be more evolvable, which through population growth provides a genotypic bias towards evolvability. Interestingly, the combination of these two mechanisms can lead to increasing evolvability without any pressure to out-compete other organisms, as demonstrated through experiments with a series of simulated models. Thus rather than from pressure to adapt, evolvability may inevitably result from any drift through genotypic space combined with evolution's passive tendency to accumulate niches.

Journal Title

Plos One

Volume

PLoS One

Issue/Number

4

Publication Date

1-1-2013

Document Type

Article

Language

English

First Page

9

WOS Identifier

8

ISSN

1932-6203

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