Reflections on the graph representation of darwinian evolution

Nico van Straalen, Bart Gremmen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


The proposal of Jagers op Akkerhuis et al. (Chap. 4) is that Darwinian evolution can better be discussed in terms of a graph-pattern than in terms of population- based frequencies of properties that change from one generation to the next. The authors suggest that the use of a graph-pattern can contribute to resolving current debates about extending and generalizing the concept of evolution, because a graph-pattern allows for detailed discussions of the objects, the relationships, and the patterns that constitute the concept of Darwinian evolution. We raise some questions about the currently suggested graph pattern, which-in our view-may require an additional generation. Furthermore, the use of a minimalistic and abstract graph- pattern raises questions about the links with several biologically relevant evolutionary principles including natural selection, mutation and recombination, development, and genetic drift and genetic bottlenecks. We ask the question whether a graph representation of Darwinian evolution can be extended in such a way that it suffi ciently refl ects this type of biological complexity. This, in our view, presents a challenge for the further development of Jagers op Akkerhuis’ abstract representation of evolutionary theory.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolution and Transitions in Complexity: The Science of Hierarchical Organization in Nature
PublisherSpringer International Publishing Switzerland
ISBN (Print)9783319438023, 9783319438016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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