The major evolutionary transitions

Nature. 1995 Mar 16;374(6519):227-32. doi: 10.1038/374227a0.


There is no theoretical reason to expect evolutionary lineages to increase in complexity with time, and no empirical evidence that they do so. Nevertheless, eukaryotic cells are more complex than prokaryotic ones, animals and plants are more complex than protists, and so on. This increase in complexity may have been achieved as a result of a series of major evolutionary transitions. These involved changes in the way information is stored and transmitted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Plants
  • Prokaryotic Cells
  • Reproduction