Evolutionary Compromises Drive Diversity

Evolution’s story is told only by the winners.
— Chris Adami
  Chris Adami , professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Physics and Astronomy

Chris Adami, professor, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Physics and Astronomy

To paraphrase the Rolling Stones: we can’t always get everything we want in life, but we get what we need. Michigan State University researchers believe this is a powerful principle in evolution as well. Trade-offs, which are evolutionary compromises, drive the diversity of life, said Chris Adami, MSU professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. 

“Biologists have long known that when species compete for limited resources such as food, they are pressured to diversify,” he said. “But what we found through computer simulation is that trade-offs are the main driver of diversification when resources are scarce. The stronger the trade-offs, the more diversification will occur.”


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