Evolutionary processes and theory: The ecological-genetics interface

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The evolutionary process is reviewed in terms of the ecological-genetics interface based on genetic diversity in natural populations of plants and animals, using the environmental-genetic correlation methodology at three geographic levels: (1) Local, several species in Israeli microsites; (2) Regional, 21 species across Israel and 2 species in the Near East; and (3) Global, 1111; 184 and 189 species in three studies across the planet. The species analyzed are taxonomically unrelated, and vary in their ecologies, demographies, life histories, and other biological variables. They were mostly tested by horizontal starch gel electrophoresis for allozymic diversity, averaging 25 gene loci, and other genetic polymorphisms. In addition, ten studies involved DNA polymorphisms. The following results were found at all three geographic levels: (1) The levels of genetic diversity vary nonrandomly and are structured within and among populations, species, and higher taxa; and (2) Genetic diversity is correlated with niche width, and partly predictable, primarily by ecological factors. These results corroborate the adaptive, environmental theory of genetic diversity. They were also verified for several allozyme loci in controlled laboratory experiments in pollution biology. Natural selection in its various forms appears to be a major force maintaining, differentiating and orienting evolutionary change in protein and DNA polymorphisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-496
Number of pages8
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1993
EventProceedings of the 5th International Conference on Environmental Quality and Ecosystem Stability - Jerusalem, Isr
Duration: 1 Jun 19921 Jun 1992


  • Adaptations
  • Ecological diversity
  • Ecological-genetics interface
  • Genetic diversity
  • Natural selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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