A recurring debate in evolutionary biology is over the extent to which microevolutionary processes operating within species can be extrapolated to explain macroevolutionary differences among species and higher t axa (36, 38, 45, 46, 53, 67, 68, 80). As discussed by Stebbins & Ayala (83), several issues involved must be carefully distinguished, such as (a) whether microÂ evolutionary processes (e.g. mutation, chromosomal change, genetic drift , natural selection) have operated throughout the history of life (presumably they have); (b) whether such known processes can by themselves account for macroevolutionary phenomena; and (c) whether these processes can predict m acroevolutionary trends and patterns . In another, phylogenetic sense , 0066-4162/8711120-0489$02.00 A VISE ET AL macroevolution is ineluctably an extrapolation of microevolution: Organisms have parents, who in tum had parents, and so on back through time. Thus, the branches in macroevolutionary trees have a substructure that consists of smaller branches and twigs, ultimately resolved as generation-to-generation pedigrees (Figure l). It is through these pedigrees that genes have been transmitted, tracing the stream of heredity that is phylogeny. It would seem that considerations of phylogeny and heredity should provide a logical starting point for attempts to understand any connections of macroevolution
Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics – Annual Reviews
Published: Nov 1, 1987
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