Concepts View

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Fitness (Absolute)

The expected number of individual offspring in the next generation of a population. (Note: absolute fitness is a summary statistic, usually measured for particular genotypes, and should not be confused with fitness understood as a property ascribed to individuals.) Compare to “Fitness (Relative).”

References:

Orr, H.A. (2010). “Fitness and its role in evolutionary genetics.” Nature Reviews Genetics 10:531–539.

Fitness (relative)

The expected number of individual offspring in the next generation of a population relative to an environment and other individuals in the population. (Note: relative fitness is a summary statistic, usually measured for particular genotypes, and should not be confused with fitness understood as a property ascribed to individuals.) Compare to “Fitness (Absolute).”

References:

Orr, H.A. (2010). “Fitness and its role in evolutionary genetics.” Nature Reviews Genetics 10:531–539.

Function (Activity)

What an entity (e.g., a chemical substance, organ or character) is capable of doing: in particular, observable and measurable activities or behaviors. Compare to “Function (Biological Role).”

References:

Wouters, A.G. (2003). “Four notions of biological function.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34:633–668.

Function (Biological Advantage)

The advantage conferred upon a biological system by the presence of an item or activity. Compare to “Function (Evolutionary).”

References:

Wouters, A.G. (2003). “Four notions of biological function.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34:633–668.

Function (Biological Role)

The manner in which an item or activity contributes to a complex activity or capacity of a biological system or mechanism. (Note: a “complex activity” is the result of the way the parts and activities of a system are organized.) Compare to “Function (Activity).”

References:

Wouters, A.G. (2003). “Four notions of biological function.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34:633–668.

Function (Evolutionary)

The effects for which a trait was selected in the past that explain its current presence in a population. Compare to “Function (Biological Advantage).”

References:

Wouters, A.G. (2003). “Four notions of biological function.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34:633–668.