Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):2 (2018)

W. Doolittle
Dalhousie University
Constructive Neutral Evolution is an evolutionary mechanism that can explain much molecular inter-dependence and organismal complexity without assuming positive selection favoring such dependency or complexity, either directly or as a byproduct of adaptation. It differs from but complements other non-selective explanations for complexity, such as genetic drift and the Zero Force Evolutionary Law, by being ratchet-like in character. With CNE, purifying selection maintains dependencies or complexities that were neutrally evolved. Preliminary treatments use it to explain specific genetic and molecular structures or processes, such as retained gene duplications, the spliceosome, and RNA editing. Here we aim to expand the scope of such explanation beyond the molecular level, integrating CNE with Multi-Level Selection theory, and arguing that several popular higher-level selection scenarios are in fact instances of CNE. Suitably contextualized, CNE occurs at any level in the biological hierarchy at which natural selection as normally construed occurs. As examples, we focus on modularity in protein–protein interaction networks or “interactomes,” the origin of eukaryotic cells and the evolution of co-dependence in microbial communities—a variant of the “Black Queen Hypothesis” which we call the “Gray Queen Hypothesis”.
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-018-9614-6
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References found in this work BETA

Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Exaptation–A Missing Term in the Science of Form.Stephen Jay Gould & Elisabeth S. Vrba - 1982 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press.

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