John Casti

Paper #: 93-12-077

  1. Neo-Darwinism and the Problem of Competition. Neo-Darwinian evolution can be described compactly by the formula, “adaptation = variation + heredity + selection.” Here “variation” refers to the fact that individual organisms each have a different genetic endowment bequeathed to it by its parents, while “heredity” means that these genetic characteristics can be passed on to an organism’s own offspring. Since the pioneering work by Mendel on genetic inheritance, there has been little controversy in the evolutionary biology community about these two processes. But not so for the mysterious process of “selection,” where Nature bestows its favors on some and ignores others.