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Experimental EvolutionConcepts, Methods, and Applications of Selection Experiments$
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Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520247666

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247666.001.0001

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Laboratory Evolution Meets Catch-22

Laboratory Evolution Meets Catch-22

Balancing Simplicity and Realism

(p.670) (p.671) 22 Laboratory Evolution Meets Catch-22
Experimental Evolution

Raymond B. Huey

Frank Rosenzweig

University of California Press

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

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