PhilSci Archive

Distinguishing Drift and Selection Empirically: “The Great Snail Debate” of the 1950s

Millstein, Roberta L. (2007) Distinguishing Drift and Selection Empirically: “The Great Snail Debate” of the 1950s. [Preprint]

[img]
Preview
PDF
Download (320Kb) | Preview

    Abstract

    Biologists and philosophers have been extremely pessimistic about the possibility of demonstrating random drift in nature, particularly when it comes to distinguishing random drift from natural selection. However, examination of a historical case - Maxime Lamotte's study of natural populations of the land snail, Cepaea nemoralis in the 1950s - shows that while some pessimism is warranted, it has been overstated. Indeed, by describing a unique signature for drift and showing that this signature obtained in the populations under study, Lamotte was able to make a good case for a significant role for drift. It may be difficult to disentangle the causes of drift and selection acting in a population, but it is not (always) impossible.


    Export/Citation:EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
    Social Networking:

    Item Type: Preprint
    Additional Information: Forthcoming in the Journal of the History of Biology
    Keywords: adaptationism, Arthur J. Cain, conspicuous polymorphism, Cepaea nemoralis, random genetic drift, ecological genetics, evolution, Philip M. Sheppard, Maxime Lamotte, natural selection, selectionist
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
    Specific Sciences > Biology
    General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
    Depositing User: Dr. Roberta L. Millstein
    Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2007
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:15
    Item ID: 3413
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3413

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads