m.r.Life ι**=7/3ψ

Comments on Theoretical Biology 7:1-10 (2002)Download free pdf

Two contrasting interpretations of Fisher's fundamental theorem of natural selection

Lars Witting

Abstract: The modern interpretation of Fisher's fundamental theorem of natural selection is based on Price (1972). Like Fisher, he described the theorem as a balance between a partial increase in fitness caused by natural selection and a partial decline caused by the deterioration of the environment. But to obtain generality, Price sacrificed fitness as a phenotypic trait with a well-defined genetic and environmental component. This contrasts with a more resent phenotypic interpretation (Witting, 2000a), where fitness is treated as a well-defined phenotypic character. The two interpretations are compared, with some discussion of the fact that the generality of the modern interpretation may be in conflict with Fisher. As predicted by the phenotypic interpretation, Fisher described the fundamental theorem as if it applies only to an ecological vacuum where there are no interactions among individuals.

This article has been certified and accepted after peer review, and published in Comments on Theoretical Biology 7:1-10 (2002) with Copyright retained by Taylor & Francis. A single copy can be downloaded for the reader's personal research and study.