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Evaluation of the Rate of Evolution in Natural Populations of Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

Science  28 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5308, pp. 1934-1937
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5308.1934

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Abstract

Natural populations of guppies were subjected to an episode of directional selection that mimicked natural processes. The resulting rate of evolution of age and size at maturity was similar to rates typically obtained for traits subjected to artificial selection in laboratory settings and up to seven orders of magnitude greater than rates inferred from the paleontological record. Male traits evolved more rapidly than female traits largely because males had more genetic variation upon which natural selection could act. These results are considered in light of the ongoing debate about the importance of natural selection versus other processes in the paleontological record of evolution.

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