Genetics and evolution in the biotic regulation concept

One of the main postulates of modern biology is the statement that the driving force of evolution is the genetic adaptation of biological species to changing environmental conditions. This statement contradicts the biotic regulation theory in several ways. (Indeed, if one can adapt to an environmental change, why should one spend efforts on preventing the environment from random changes?) Thus, the available data on genetic polymorphism and evolutionary changes must be given a coherent quantitative explanation compatible with the biotic regulation theory.

Our analysis shows that the observed genetic polymorphism cannot be consistently interpreted as an adaptive potential of a species (see here and here on the conflict between the biotic regulation and genetic adaptation concepts). Rather, it represents a permissible level of erosion of the meaningful genetic information of species. Instead of being continuously changing in a certain direction, the genetic information of a species fluctuates randomly around the normal genome during the whole period of the species' existence. The magnitude of fluctuations is determined by the sensitivity limit of natural selection.

If the intraspecific genetic polymorphism represented the adaptive potential of a species, one could expect that species consisting of many individuals (e.g. bacteria with characteristic population density of a million per cubic millilitre) would evolve faster than species with a small number of individuals (e.g. mammals, 1 ind. per square km). In simple words, it seems easier to find an organism well fitted to a new environment if you choose among billions, rather than among a few, individuals. It is easy to calculate that the rate of speciation would differ by ten and more orders of magnitude among small numerous and large non-numerous organisms. In reality, speciation rate does not depend on population numbers. How does evolution occur then?

Web documents

Biotic regulation and the concepts of genetic adaptation and nutrient limitation

Evolutionary theory attacked: a debate in need of quantitative arguments? (on whether the responses of evolutionists to creationists are persuasive)

Does the process of speciation occur today, and can one observe it?

How can it be that both unicellular and multicellular organisms co-exist on our planet? Didn't the latter enter the biosphere as more progressive and should have then outcompeted the former in the struggle for survival?

How does the biotic regulation concept relate to J. Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis?

Book chapters (PDF)

V. G. Gorshkov, V. V. Gorshkov, A. M. Makarieva (2000) Biotic Regulation of the Environment: Key Issue of Global Change. Springer-Praxis Series in Environmental Sciences, 367 pp. Praxis: Chichester, Springer: Berlin.
Chapter 9. Genetic bases of biotic regulation and life stability: Theoretical consideration
Chapter 10. Genetic bases of biotic regulation and life stability: Analysis of empirical evidence
Chapter 11. Evolution

V. G. Gorshkov (1995) Physical and Biological Bases of Life Stability. Man. Biota. Environment. Springer: Berlin.
Chapter 3. Stability of Life Organization


Makarieva A.M., Gorshkov V.G. (2011) On the nature of intraspecific genetic variability: Evidence against the ruling paradigm. arXiv:1101.0579v1 [q-bio.PE]. Abstract. pdf

Makarieva A.M., Gorshkov V.G. (2004) On the dependence of speciation rates on species abundance and characteristic population size. Journal of Biosciences, 29, 119-128. Abstract. pdf Copyright Indian Academy of Sciences.

Makarieva A.M., Gorshkov V.G., Mackey B., Gorshkov V.V. (2002) How valid are the biological and ecological principles underpinning Global Change science? Energy & Environment, 13, 299-310. Abstract. pdf

Makarieva A.M. (2001) Variance of protein heterozygosity in different species of mammals with respect to the number of loci studied. Heredity, 87, 41-51. Abstract. pdf Supplementary data.

Gorshkov V.G., Makar'eva A.M. (1999) Haldane's Rule and somatic mutations. Russian Journal of Genetics, 35(6), 611-617. Abstract. pdf

Gorshkov V.G., Makar'eva A.M. (1997) Dependence of heterozygosity on body weight in mammals. Doklady Biological Sciences, 355, 384-386. Abstract. pdf