Portal:Evolutionary biology

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The Evolutionary Biology Portal

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Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change, multiplication, and diversity over time. Biologically, evolution is the change in the inherited traits of a population from generation to generation. These traits are the expression of genes that are copied and passed on to offspring during reproduction. Mutations in these genes can produce new or altered traits, resulting in heritable differences (genetic variation) between organisms. New traits can also come from transfer of genes between populations, as in migration, or between species, in horizontal gene transfer. Evolution occurs when these heritable differences become more common or rare in a population, either non-randomly through natural selection or randomly through genetic drift.

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In biology and ecology, extinction is the cessation of existence of a species or group of taxa, reducing biodiversity. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of that species (although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point). Because a species' potential range may be very large, determining this moment is difficult, and is usually done retrospectively. This difficulty leads to phenomena such as Lazarus taxa, where a species presumed extinct abruptly "re-appears" (typically in the fossil record) after a period of apparent absence. Through evolution, new species arise through the process of speciation — where new varieties of organisms arise and thrive when they are able to find and exploit an ecological niche — and species become extinct when they are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior competition. A typical species becomes extinct within 10 million years of its first appearance, although some species, called living fossils, survive virtually unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. Only one in a thousand species that have existed remain today.
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Credit: User:TimVickers

The image depicts the duplication of part of a chromosome.

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Evolutionary biology

Evolutionary biologists • Eugenics • Evolutionary biology literature • Evolutionary dynamics • Evolutionary game theory • Extinction • History of evolutionary biology • Human evolution • Microbial population biology • Molecular evolution • Mutation • Paleontology • Phylogenetics • Population genetics • Evolutionary psychology • Selection • Sociobiology • Speciation • Symbiosis • Tree of life •

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  • ...that adaptations enable living organisms to cope with environmental stresses and pressures?
  • ...that maintained gene flow between two populations can also lead to a combination of the two gene pools, reducing the genetic variation between the two groups?
  • ...that all forms of natural speciation have taken place over the course of evolution, though it still remains a subject of debate as to the relative importance of each mechanism in driving biodiversity?
  • ...that despite the relative rarity of suitable conditions for fossilization, approximately 250,000 fossil species are known?
  • ...that genetic sequence evidence thus allows inference and quantification of genetic relatedness between humans and other apes?
  • ...that the human species has a common ancestor with the ape? (similar to above reference)

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    WikiProjects connected with biology:

    A complete list of scientific WikiProjects can be found here. See also Wikispecies, a Wikimedia project dedicated to classification of biological species.

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    Evolutionary biology fields— Cladistics • Ecological genetics • Evolutionary development • Human evolution • Molecular evolution • Phylogenetics • Population genetics
    Mechanisms— Natural selection • Genetic drift • Gene flow
    Outcomes— Adaptation • Co-evolution • Co-operation • Speciation • Extinction
    Research and history— Evidence of common descent • Evolutionary history of life • History of evolutionary thought • Modern evolutionary synthesis • Social effect of evolutionary theory • Objections to evolution
    Applications — Evolutionary algorithm •

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