Evolution of the Adaptive Landscape

  • Michael Conrad
Part of the Lecture Notes in Biomathematics book series (LNBM, volume 21)


Evolution is sometimes pictured in terms of hill climbing on an adaptive landscape (Wright, 1932), therefore as an optimization process. This imagery certainly should be treated with certain cautions—for one never knows the structure of the landscape, there is difficulty saying in general what precisely is to be optimized (i.e. it is difficult to define fitness), and it is possible that optima, even accessible optima, are never reached. However, there can hardly be any doubt that the mechanism of evolution through variation and natural selection potentially subserves an optimization process in some very general sense, that even if the products of evolution are not actually optimal they are qualitatively the most sophisticated forms in nature, and that the imagery of the adaptive landscape has been scientifically fruitful.


Primary Structure Hill Climbing Theoretical Biology Darwinian Evolution Redundant Gene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Conrad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer and Communication SciencesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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