Are Developmental Plasticity, Niche Construction, and Extended Inheritance Necessary for Evolution by Natural Selection? The Role of Active Phenotypes in the Minimal Criteria …

Watson, Richard A., and Christoph Thies. “10 Are Developmental Plasticity, Niche Construction, and.” Evolutionary Causation: Biological and Philosophical Reflections 23 (2019): 197.

The process of evolution by natural selection can be characterized by three core mecha-nisms: variation, selection, and inheritance (Lewontin 1970; Godfrey-Smith 2007; Watson and Szathmary 2016). Models of biological evolution often adopt several simplifying assumptions in their treatment of these mechanisms: that inheritance occurs by gene trans-mission only, that variation is genetic or genetically determined, and that selection is an exogenous filtering process. We refer to this set of simplifications as the “standard model” (table 10.1). In this simplification, variation, selection, and inheritance are treated as fixed and causally autonomous mechanisms—unaffected by the products (phenotypes) of the evolutionary process (Watson and Szathmary 2016; Uller and Helantera 2017; Walsh 2015).

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