Question: (Closed) what is the meaning of "natural selection"?
gravatar for 2001linana
7 weeks ago by
2001linana20 wrote:

I was reading an article lately and encountered this, "Reviewing all the data, Andersen et al. have concluded that the natural selection of the virus could have happened in animals, before zoonotic transmission, or in humans, after zoonotic transmission." So, I was wondering, what is the meaning of "the natural selection of the virus"?

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ADD COMMENTlink modified 7 weeks ago by Mensur Dlakic8.2k • written 7 weeks ago by 2001linana20

Hi linana,

I have closed this post, though it has an answer already as I think this is a good opportunity to provide some general advice. You have asked a number of questions on the site to date, and while some of them are site-relevant many of them have been related to very fundamental concepts in biology and/or bioinformatics.

While I applaud your interest and enthusiasm to learn, this is not really what this site is designed to support. Some of your questions (such as this one) would be better placed on the Biology StackExchange. That said, this is a very basic concept at the very heart of biology, and even those sites would simply direct you to even just the Wikipedia page for natural selection (in this example) and probably close the question also.

I think you would be well served by picking up a cheap modern biology textbook which will give you a good grounding in these concepts and enable you to ask the slightly more sophisticated and specific questions this site is aimed at.

ADD REPLYlink modified 7 weeks ago • written 7 weeks ago by Joe18k

I guess what I'd like to say is, how to understand this sentence more precisely...

ADD REPLYlink written 7 weeks ago by 2001linana20

There is no other way to understand the sentence than the precise meaning of natural selection - i.e. that traits which promote the survival of an organism, and thereby its ability to procreate (or in the case of a virus, replicate) will survive more within a population.

I don't know what you mean by understanding the sentence any more precisely than what has already been explained to you. A virus is like any other organism - its genetics are subject to evolution. There isn't really much more to be said...

ADD REPLYlink written 7 weeks ago by Joe18k

So, natural selection is a process, right? I mean, it happens through the evolution process all the time. If this is the case, what is the meaning of "the natural selection could have happened, in animals before the zoonotic transmission, or in humans, after the zoonotic transmission."? Moreover, is there anyway to quantify natural selection then?

ADD REPLYlink written 7 weeks ago by 2001linana20

They're simply drawing a distinction between evolution which is happening 'either side' of the species barrier. For example, the SARS-COV-2 virus acquires 'just enough' mutation to be able to leap the species barrier, by chance. Once in a human host, evolution/natural selection could happen substantially faster as the virus suddenly adapts to its new host as the environment would be unfavourable in the first instance. If I had to guess, I would say the selection pressure in humans for this specific case is much greater since its not the natural reservoir of that specific virus.

You can sort of quantify natural selection/evolution through metrics such as the dN/dS value. This is more like evolutionary biology though so its not really my area. There are probably lots of metrics used to measure population drift (Hardy-Weinberg springs to mind, though its not an exact fit for this).

ADD REPLYlink written 7 weeks ago by Joe18k
gravatar for Mensur Dlakic
7 weeks ago by
Mensur Dlakic8.2k
Mensur Dlakic8.2k wrote:

Natural selection has a single meaning whether in the context of viruses or anything else. I think you should read the whole explanation, but it boils down to this: 1) organisms randomly mutate; 2) useful mutations are selected for better fitness and kept in the population.

I think it is great that you are reading so many articles. Still, I don't think this forum is meant for answering so many questions of the type what is the meaning ...?, especially when they are easy to answer by Googling and when they are unrelated to bioinformatics.

ADD COMMENTlink written 7 weeks ago by Mensur Dlakic8.2k
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