Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsBiology · 7 months ago

Which is more important for the survival of the fittest, natural selection or genetic mutation?

6 Answers

Relevance
  • Ted K
    Lv 7
    7 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    By definition, natural selection IS "survival of the fittest," and genetic mutation creates the random variation which serves as natural selection's raw material. Certainly genetic mutation probably happens a lot more often than selection does, however, again, if you're talking about "fitness," than you're automatically talking selection, so THAT would be more important.

    However, natural selection is not the only mechanism by which evolution can occur. There are other possuible mechanisms. For example, and keeping on the subject of mutation, it's possible that not every evolved trait has done so via selection, because not all traits are necessarily selected for. Some may have become fixed in the population through genetic drift, followed by random events that just happen to favor one, selectively neutral trait over others. This is the whole basis for the so-called "neutral theory." Note that drift is more likely to influence evolution if it's occuring in a small population. In large populations, the effects of drift tend to get diluted out, and so are less likely to influence allele frequencies for very long. But regardless of how much it actually contributes to evolution, genetic drift is still always going on, because of the random nature of genetic mutations, recombination and chromosomal assortment during formation of gametes, and it's likely a major source for intrinsic genetic variation in populations of organisms.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
  • Anonymous
    7 months ago

    Mutation causes variations. This does not lead directly to evolution by natural selection, it is just the differences that natural selection can work upon.

    Mutations can be 'good', 'bad' or (most commonly) neutral. Neutral mutations have no effect for natural selection to work upon, so most mutations do not lead to evolution.

    'Good' mutations are mutations that cause an organism to survive better; meaning they have more offspring and can start to dominate their species. 'Bad' mutations cause more death and/or fewer offspring, so pretty soon they are out of the species. Therefore, the evolutionary effect is that you push the species in the direction of the 'good' mutation and away from the 'bad'.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
  • 7 months ago

    Mutations, because that's where genetic variation comes from. You can't have selection in a monoculture.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
  • Cowboy
    Lv 6
    7 months ago

    The fittest survive because of natural selection - genetic mutation may be a benefit here but it's not necessary. Evolution can work with any genetic variation within a population, it does not have to be from mutation. Other ways of acquiring genetic variation include horizontal gene transfer, hybridization, epigenetics, gene duplication, endosymbiosis, etc.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • God
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    Natural selection would be more important because it happens all the time. Genetic mutation is important but it is rare.

    • Log in to reply to the answers
  • 7 months ago

    It actually requires both. It won't happen without one or the other!

    • Log in to reply to the answers
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.