Expression of variability, Biology

In the preceding section we emphasised the fact that cvolution or the continuous adaptations to the environment can take place only when pheiiotypes exhibit variability. In the absense of variability, the chances arc that existing living organisms would become extinct since with the change in the environment these organisms would die without leaving progeny. Fortunatcly in living systems mutations and recombinations generate the required variability. However, organisms often strive to arrive at populations which are more or less uniform. This is possible because selection process acts in such a way that a certain degree of uniformity of phenotype is imposed among individuals of n population. If an individual were to be vcry different in some way from thc rest of the population. he would be less well adapted to the environment as compared to other members of the population and therefore unable to compete successfully with them. However, in a continuously changing environment, a slight phenotypic variability should be maintained in a population. In a changing environment no phenotype remains optimally adapted for long. This is the precise reason why variability needs to be generated continuously in a population and used to develop adaptations in the way Darwin suggested. We shall look into the mechanisms that generate variability.

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