The target article skillfully evaluates data on mental disorders in relation to predictions from evolutionary genetic theories of neutral evolution, balancing selection, and polygenic mutation-selection balance, resulting in a negative outlook for the likelihood of success finding genes for mental disorders. Nevertheless, new conceptualizations, methods, and continued interactions across disciplines provide hope. (Published Online November 9 2006).
We review Evolution and the Levels of Selection by Samir Okasha. This important book provides a cohesive philosophical framework for understanding levels-of-selections problems in biology. Concerning evolutionary transitions, Okasha proposes that three stages characterize the shift from a lower level of selection to a higher one. We discuss the application of Okasha’s three-stage concept to the evolutionary transition from unicellularity to multicellularity in the volvocine green algae. Okasha’s concepts are a provocative step towards a more general understanding of the major (...) evolutionary transitions; however, the application of certain ideas to the volvocine model system is not straightforward. (shrink)