Limits to Knowledge in Population Genetics

  • Michael T. Clegg
Part of the Evolutionary Biology book series (EBIO, volume 32)


The modern science of Biology traces, in large part, to the publication of The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin (1859). By invoking natural selection as the causal agent of biological change, Darwin provided a mechanistic explanation for the elaboration of biological diversity that focused on the experimental manipulation of observable processes. In one stroke, biology was transformed from a purely descriptive enterprise concerned with cataloging the wonders of biological diversity discovered during the age of exploration to an experimental science. The second major impact of the publication was to focus late 19th-century Biology on the great unsolved puzzle of hereditary transmission. It is, of course, well known that the solution to this great puzzle was published within a decade of The Origin but lay unappreciated for more than 30 years. It is also well known that the first two decades of the 20th century were consumed by a debate about whether the selection of minute continuous variations (as postulated by Darwin) could be consistent with the particulate system of inheritance described by Mendel.


Effective Population Size Morning Glory Gene Genealogy Population Genetic Theory Historical Inference 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael T. Clegg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Botany and Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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