1022-7954/03/3912- $25.00 © 2003
Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 39, No. 12, 2003, p. 1467. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 39, No. 12, 2003, p. 1725.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2003 by Korochkin.
The book under review contains two notable fea-
tures: (1) a detailed description of the current state of
population genetics and its evolutionary implications
and (2) a summary of author’s long-term, fruitful stud-
ies the in population genetics and evolutionary theory.
The ﬁrst three chapters deal with the theoretical
basis of population genetics and genetic processes in
natural populations. The material presented in them
will be valuable for those who study the molecular
basis of population genetics and its methods. The math-
ematical systems used in population genetics and the
problem of genetic load are analyzed in detail. The
author describes the effect of subdivision of a popula-
tion on its genetic structure and develops the theory of
the adaptation norm.
In Chapter 4, the characteristic features and princi-
ples of developing experimental model systems in pop-
ulation genetics are described. It is demonstrated that it
is the experimental approach that helps researchers to
discover consistent patterns of processes occurring in
Chapters 5 and 6 are actually the main sections of
the book. They present the author’s credo, his views on
the essence of genetic processes that occur in existing
populations and have occurred in them in the course of
evolution. The author’s views are original and revolu-
tionize our notions concerning this branch of life sci-
ence. He clearly demonstrates that there are no strictly
directional microevolutionary processes in population
systems but only stabilizing mechanisms that prevent
random gene functioning.
Regarding macroevolutionary processes, the author
shares the views of Goldschmidt on the role of macro-
mutations. Altukhov believes that it is necessary to pos-
tulate a special state of the environment where a macro-
mutation may be neutral or have a selective advantage.
Thus, Altukhov rejects the traditional population-
genetic approach to the explanation of evolutionary
events and subdivides the genome into two parts: a
polymorphic part, which ensures population diversity,
and a monomorphic part, in which the mutational
events that occur ensure genome reorganization and
contribute to evolution.
This theory is well substantiated by the vast factual
material collected by the author during his long-term
Chapter 7, “The Population Genetic Aspects of the
Problem of Man and Biosphere,” is of special interest.
In this chapter, Altukhov, ﬁrst, uses the results of funda-
mental studies to suggest recommendations extremely
important for the national economy and, second, puts
forward an interesting hypothesis on the role of genes
in the regulation of life span and on the mechanism of
In conclusion, Altukhov emphasizes that, if the
existence of the monomorphic part of the genome,
whose reorganizations are related to interspeciﬁc dif-
ferences, is acknowledged, this will leave no room for
Darwinism as a theory of evolution (but not adapta-
tion!). Altukhov also notes that it is impossible to
equate the natural variability inherent to living matter
with the changes caused by transformative human
In general, the monograph
Genetic Processes in
by Yu.P. Altukhov is an outstanding contri-
bution to population and evolutionary genetics. The
book is very useful as a handbook for geneticists and
biologists in general, as well as for undergraduate and
postgraduate students who are planning to devote them-
selves to the study of genetics.
Yu. P. Altukhov,
Genetic Processes in Populations
Moscow: Akademkniga, 2003