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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]

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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.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Millstein, Roberta L.
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 15:15
Item ID: 3413
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3413

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