Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 639–657 | Cite as

Assessing the fitness landscape revolution

Article

Abstract

According to Pigliucci and Kaplan, there is a revolution underway in how we understand fitness landscapes. Recent models suggest that a perennial problem in these landscapes—how to get from one peak across a fitness valley to another peak—is, in fact, non-existent. In this paper I assess the structure and the extent of Pigliucci and Kaplan’s proposed revolution and argue for two points. First, I provide an alternative interpretation of what underwrites this revolution, motivated by some recent work on model-based science. Second, I show that the implications of this revolution need to carefully assessed depending on question being asked, for peak-shifting is not central to all evolutionary questions that fitness landscapes have been used to explore.

Keywords

Morphospace Evo-devo Speciation Fitness landscapes Models Neutral change 

References

  1. Arnold S (2003) Performance surfaces and adaptive landscapes. Integr Comp Biol 43:367–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Calcott B Lineage explanations: explaining how biological mechanisms change. Br J Philos Sci (forthcoming)Google Scholar
  3. Camp E, Reimer M (2006) Metaphor. In: Lepore E, Smith BC (eds) The Oxford handbook of philosophy of language. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 845–863Google Scholar
  4. Fontana W (2002) Modelling ‘evo-evo’ with RNA. BioEssays: News Rev Mol Cell Dev Biol 24(12):1164–1177Google Scholar
  5. Gavrilets S (1997) Evolution and speciation on holey landscapes. Trends Ecol Evol 12(8):307–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gavrilets S (2004) Fitness landscapes and the origin of species. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  7. Giere R (1988) Explaining science: a cognitive approach. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  8. Giere R (2002) The nature and function of models. Behav Brain Sci 24(06):1060–1060Google Scholar
  9. Godfrey-Smith P (2006) The strategy of model-based science. Biol Philos 21:725–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kauffman SA (1993) The origins of order: self-organization and selection in evolution. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Kauffman S, Levin S (1987) Towards a general theory of adaptive walks on rugged landscapes. J Theor Biol 128(1):11–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kitano H (2004) Biological robustness. Nat Rev Genet 5(11):826–837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Levins R (1966) The strategy of model building in population biology. Am Sci 54(4):421–431Google Scholar
  14. Maclaurin J, Sterelny K (2008) What is biodiversity? University Of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  15. Marshall C (2006) Explaining the cambrian “explosion” of animals. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 34:355–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Matthewson J, Weisberg M (2008) The structure of tradeoffs in model building. Synthese. doi:10.1007/s11229-008-9366-y Google Scholar
  17. Niklas K (1994) Morphological evolution through complex domains of fitness. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 91(15):6772–6779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Niklas K (2004) Computer models of early land plant evolution. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci 32:187–213Google Scholar
  19. Pigliucci M, Kaplan J (2006) Making sense of evolution: the conceptual foundations of evolutionary biology. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  20. Shpak M, Wagner G (2000) Asymmetry of configuration space induced by unequal crossover: implications for a mathematical theory of evolutionary innovation. Artif Life 6(1):25–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Stadler P (2002) Fitness landscapes. In: Lassig M, Valleriani A (eds) Biological evolution and statistical physics. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 187–207Google Scholar
  22. Stadler P, Stadler B (2006) Genotype–phenotype maps. Biol Theory 1:268–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Stadler B, Stadler P, Shpak M, Wagner G (2002) Recombination spaces, metrics, and pretopologies. Z Phys Chem 216:217–234Google Scholar
  24. Stone JR (1996) The evolution of ideas: a phylogeny of shell models. Am Nat 148(5):904–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wagner A (2005) Robustness and evolvability in living systems. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  26. Wagner G (2007) How wide and how deep is the divide between population genetics and developmental evolution? Biol Philos 22(1):145–153Google Scholar
  27. Weisberg M (2006) Forty years of ‘the strategy’: Levins on model building and idealization. Biol Philos 21(5):623–645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Weisberg M (2007) Who is a modeler? Br J Philos Sci 58(2):207–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Weisberg M, Reisman K (2008) The robust volterra principle. Philos Sci 75(1):106–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wimsatt W (1987) False models as a means to truer theories. In: Nitecki M, Hoffmann A (eds) Neutral models in biology. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 23–55Google Scholar
  31. Wright S (1932) The roles of mutation, inbreeding, crossbreeding and selection in evolution. Proc 6th Int Cong Genet 1:356–366Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Program, RSSSAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Macroevolution and MacroecologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations