Non-adaptive evolution | Origin of Life: Emergence, Self-organization and Evolution |

A common tenet in biology is that complex traits, such as gene networks, are the result of natural selection. In this paper Lynch shows "that many of the qualitative features of known transcriptional networks can arise readily through the non-adaptive processes of genetic drift, mutation and recombination".

These findings raises the questions about whether natural selection is strictly necessary for the emergence of complex traits.

These findings highlight the importance of endogenous processes that lead to innovation, irrespective of exogenous constraints or environmental demands.

Within this framework, “the production of novelty” is not merely a reaction to environmental changes, it is rather a active exploration of the “possible and attainable” primarily grounded in the organizational structure of the biosystem as suggested by Varela and Maturana and later on by Stuart Kauffman



Lynch M. The evolution of genetic networks by non-adaptive processes. Nat Rev Genet. 2007 Oct;8(10):803-13.