What Changes Has Mathematics Made to the Darwinian Theory?

Part of the Mathematics and Biosciences in Interaction book series (MBI)


Mathematics has played a key role in validating the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection. Perhaps most importantly it shows that the variation needed for evolution by natural selection is conserved under the Mendelian evolutionary system. It then quantifies the rate at which favorable new genetic types are incorporated into a population by natural selection. Analyses at the whole genome level (the current active area of genetical research) are possible only by the use of mathematics, particularly the use of matrix theory. Finally, it is only by a mathematical analysis, using stochastic process theory, that the effects of random changes in gene frequencies, unavoidable because of the finite size of any population, can be assessed.


Selection variation evolution Mendelism genetics correlation 


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© Springer Basel AG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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