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natural selection

Art for "New Turmoil Over Weighing Genes’ Share of Complex Traits"

New Turmoil Over Predicting the Effects of Genes

Promising efforts at disentangling the effects of genes and the environment on complicated traits may have been confounded by statistical problems.


Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?

How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Biologist debate the need to revise theories.

Abstractions blog

Why Nature Prefers Couples, Even for Yeast

Some species have the equivalent of many more than two sexes, but most do not. A new model suggests the reason depends on how often they mate.

Photo of ants holding larvae.

The Elusive Calculus of Insects’ Altruism and Kin Selection

How the ultra-cooperative behavior of ants, bees and other social insects could have evolved continues to challenge formal analysis. But a new theory about hedging bets against nature’s unpredictability may change the math and shift the debate.


The Surprising Origins of Life’s Complexity

Scientists are exploring how organisms can evolve elaborate structures without Darwinian selection.