Patrick O'Neil writes:
>>> On 12 Apr 1995, Lawrence Pierce wrote:
>> > Just one quick question for any one with some experience in the
> > field of evolution. Does adaptation occur at the individual level or at
> > the population. I recently began achapter on evolution and am a little
> > uncertain about the answer to this question. Any qualified answers
> > welcome
>> Evolution acts at the level of individual organisms, not species, though
> in general, what is beneficial to an individual of a species, if
> genetically transmissible, will end up benefiting the species. Adaption
> is an individual state.
>> In some cases, you can argue that evolution takes place at the level of
> the gene.
Rubbish. Evolution via natural selection only occurs as it
selects certain genomes in large numbers of organisms, i.e.
populations. The loss of a gene or trait in a single individual
is unimportant except in the small populations in which genetic
Associate Professor (Emeritus)
University of Virginia
mgk at darwin.clas.virginia.edu