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3D simulation shows how form of complex organs evolves by natural selection
Date:5/2/2013

lations of individuals in which each individual can mutate its genes, just as this works in nature. Through the development model, these produce new morphologies and natural selection decides which ones pass on to the next generation. By repeating the process in each generation, we can see evolution in action on the computer.

This simulation enables a comparison of the different hypotheses in the field of evolution regarding which aspects of morphology evolve most easily. The first vision is that all metric aspects of form contribute to adaptation and that, consequently, all are fine-tuned by evolution over time. The second vision is that some aspects of form have greater adaptive value and that the remainder evolve collaterally from changes in these. The third is that no aspect of form is intrinsically more important, but what is important adaptively is a complex measurement of the form's roughness.

"What we have found is that the first hypothesis is not possible and that the second is possible in some cases. Even if ecology favoured this type of selection (the first vision), embryo development and the relationship between genetic and morphological variation imposed by this is too complex for every aspect of morphology to have been fine-tuned. In one way, what we are seeing is that natural selection is constantly modelling body forms, but these are still a long way from perfection in many ways", points out Salazar.


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Contact: Maria Jesus Delgado
MariaJesus.Delgado@uab.cat
34-935-814-049
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Source:Eurekalert

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