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BMC Biology

, 14:114

First Online: 23 December 2016DOI: 10.1186-s12915-016-0338-2

Cite this article as: Koonin, E.V. BMC Biol 2016 14: 114. doi:10.1186-s12915-016-0338-2

Abstract

The study of any biological features, including genomic sequences, typically revolves around the question: what is this for? However, population genetic theory, combined with the data of comparative genomics, clearly indicates that such a -pan-adaptationist- approach is a fallacy. The proper question is: how has this sequence evolved? And the proper null hypothesis posits that it is a result of neutral evolution: that is, it survives by sheer chance provided that it is not deleterious enough to be efficiently purged by purifying selection. To claim adaptation, the neutral null has to be falsified. The adaptationist fallacy can be costly, inducing biologists to relentlessly seek function where there is none.

AbbreviationsCNEConstructive neutral evolution

MGEMobile genetic element

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Autor: Eugene V. Koonin

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/







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