Asked in PokemonAnimal LifeCharles DarwinEvolution
Do populations evolve or do individuals evolve?
April 15, 2013 5:13AM
Evolution is a phenomenon best expressed in terms of either
changes between generations or changes in allele frequencies from
one generation to the next. It is individual variants that are
subject to natural selection, but evolution is most easily measured
in terms of allele frequencies in the population gene pool. My
answer would therefore be: Both.
Although genetic information DOES change through the course of an individual's life (which is why even the DNA of identical twins grows less and less alike as they age), in general one's genotype is considered predominantly fixed at conception. In that respect, individuals do not evolve, but populations do. While individuals are subject to natural selection, they are not subject to inheritable germ line mutations. That would only happen to their offspring.