The evolution of replication

Biological Theory 2 (1):10-22 (2007)
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If all origins of life or of any new grade, level, or major transition as such begin with “competitive development”—with juveniles rather than adults, and multiple individuals rather than a single one—then the evolution of progeneration and of replication always requires an explanation. This article proposes that principles of evolutionary ecology such as density-dependence can be used to explain three kinds of developmental repetitions, viz., sequences of inductive and niche-constructing interactions between the ecological environment and population members, which take place in such a way that the sequence is repeated: individual or somatic repetitions, discussed in Section 1, demographic or progenerative repetitions , discussed in Section 2, and replicative repetitions , discussed in Section 3. This results in a statement of the evolutionary process that includes rather than excludes development and ecology, but one which requires some additions to Van Valen’s aphorism that evolution is the control of development by ecology



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