IV.8.1 An individual is the object and the basic unit of selection.

The individual is the unit of individual selection.The probability of survival and reproduction of the individual in this case is decided by his quality and thus natural selection can promote those properties of an organism that are maximally advantageous for its bearer.Individual selectionis apparently the most important type of natural selection, and no other type of intraspecies natural selection is generally encountered in most species of organisms.Even where group selection occurs, individual selection is of great or even key importance.

            Certain complications are encountered in organisms where it is difficult to exactly define the boundaries of the individual.This applies, e.g., to a great many vegetatively reproducing plants where it is very difficult to determine where one individual ends and another begins.A similar situation is encountered for a number of metazoas living in colonies (e.g. corals).In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to accept the fact that there will be no sharp borderlines between individual, kin andgroup selection.

Was this information useful for you?
The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more
Draft translation from: Evoluční biologie, 2. vydání (Evolutionary biology, 2nd edition), J. Flegr, Academia Prague 2009. The translation was not done by biologist, therefore any suggestion concerning proper scientific terminology and language usage are highly welcomed. You can send your comments to flegratcesnet [dot] cz. Thank you.