Limits to Natural Selection

Bioessays. 2000 Dec;22(12):1075-84. doi: 10.1002/1521-1878(200012)22:12<1075::AID-BIES5>3.0.CO;2-M.


We review the various factors that limit adaptation by natural selection. Recent discussion of constraints on selection and, conversely, of the factors that enhance "evolvability", have concentrated on the kinds of variation that can be produced. Here, we emphasise that adaptation depends on how the various evolutionary processes shape variation in populations. We survey the limits that population genetics places on adaptive evolution, and discuss the relationship between disparate literatures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Selection, Genetic*