Research CommentariesEvolution

Complexity Matters

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Science  20 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5354, pp. 1158-1159
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5354.1158

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Evolutionary biologists have been loosely divided into two camps. One group believes that all characteristics of an organism are equally malleable by evolutionary pressures, with the result that an organism can in theory take any shape. The other camp has the view that there are fundamental properties of each organism that are quite immutable. In his commentary, Wagner discusses new work on the complexity of organisms and a paper by Waxman and Peck in this week's issue and argues that these results tip the balance in favor of the group that believes in a fundamentally immutable set of characteristics for each organism.