Laboratory Evolution Meets Catch-22

Raymond B. Huey and Frank Rosenzweig

in Experimental Evolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780520247666
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944473 | DOI:
Laboratory Evolution Meets Catch-22

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This chapter looks critically at a particular type of experimental evolution, often called laboratory natural selection (LNS). In this protocol, stocks of organisms are reared chronically under different conditions and allowed to evolve by natural selection over many generations. The chapter discusses the difficulties of balancing simplicity and realism in laboratory studies of natural selection, especially when they are intended to simulate selection in the wild. Because LNS experiments have strengths and weaknesses, researchers contemplating one face the classic catch-22 (or double-bind) situation. They may well decide that LNS is the best way to test a given evolutionary hypothesis, but simultaneously they must accept that some of the inferences they draw from their LNS experiment may be of uncertain validity.

Keywords: experimental evolution; LNS; natural selection; evolutionary hypothesis

Chapter.  13678 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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