Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 89–101

Molecular evolution as predicted by natural selection

  • Leigh Van Valen

DOI: 10.1007/BF01796554

Cite this article as:
Van Valen, L. J Mol Evol (1974) 3: 89. doi:10.1007/BF01796554


The major difficulty with selectionist explanations of molecular evolution has been their lack of a prediction of roughly constant evolutionary rates. A new selectionist theory (the Red Queen's Hypothesis), motivated by paleontology and derivable ecologically, makes such a prediction directly. Not all its other predictions are now verified. The counter-intuitive theory presupposes that an increase in momentary fitness by one species causes an equal total decline in momentary fitness among ecologically interacting species. Although some arguments for the selectionist approach seem invalid, this general approach remains plausible.

Key words

Natural Selection Molecular Evolution Red Queen 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leigh Van Valen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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