Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


Evolutionary processes resulting from the accumulation of minor changes over a relatively short period of time; evolutionary changes due to gene mutation.
Evolution of species.



the aggregate of the actuating evolutionary processes occurring within isolated or neighboring populations of a given species. (Populations here are considered as the elementary evolutionary structure; mutations—the basis for genetic variation—as the elementary evolutionary material; and the mutation process, the waves of life, various forms of isolation, and natural selection, as the elementary evolutionary factors.)

Under the pressure of evolutionary factors, change occurs in the genotypic composition of a population—the leading actuating mechanism of the evolutionary process. The term “micro-evolution,” as counterposed to macroevolution, was once used by certain evolutionists to mean variability and the development of forms within a species. Modern microevolutionary theory developed after the synthesis of genetics and classical Darwinism. The basis for the theory was laid by the Soviet geneticist S. S. Chetverikov in 1926 and the English geneticist R. A. Fisher in 1930. In the modern view (sometimes called the synthetic theory of evolution), all of the basic actuating mechanisms of evolution on all levels occur within species—that is, on the microevolutionary level. Microevolution culminates in species formation—in other words, in the appearance of species that are reproductively isolated from the original and all other closely related species. For this reason, there are no distinctions in principle between microevolution and macroevolution, which differ only in their temporal and spatial scale.

Successful research on the microevolutionary level necessitates the synthesis of populational-genetic experiments and quantitative descriptions of the processes of population dynamics and ecology, study of ethological phenomena, analytical application of the theoretical propositions of genetics, and mathematical models of intrapopulational and interpopulational processes.


Chetverikov, S. S. “O nekotorykh momentakh evoliutsionnogo protsessa s tochki zreniia sovremennoi genetiki.” Zhurnal eksperimentaVnoi biologii, 1926, vol. 2, issue 1.
Timofeev-Resovskii, N. V. “Mikroevoliutsiia.” Botanicheskii zhurnal, 1958. vol. 43, no. 3.
Shmal’gauzen, I. I. Faktory evoliutsii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Mayr, E. Zoologicheskii vid i evoliutsiia. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)
Mayr, E. Printsipy zoologicheskoi sistematiki. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from English.)
Timofeev-Resovskii, N. V., N. N. Vorontsov, and A. V. lablokov. Kratkii ocherk teorii evoliutsii. Moscow, 1969.
Fisher, R. A. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford, 1930.
Huxley, J. Evolution: The Modern Synthesis, 2nd ed. London, 1963.


References in periodicals archive ?
emigration and ethnic intermarriage have taken over as the overwhelmingly dominant forces of microevolution .
Major features of sundadonty and sinodonty including suggestions about east Asian microevolution, population history and late Pleistocene relationships with Australian aboriginals.
Evo-devo" is the field that unites developmental and evolutionary biology, and their supporters (Carroll, 2000, 2005; Stern, 2000; Wray, 2007) claim to have revolutionized the study of both macro-and microevolution.
The freeware models available now are limited in their usefulness for describing microevolution in some significant aspects.
Schuffenecker I, Iteman I, Michault A, Murri S, Frangeul L, Genome microevolution of chikungunya viruses causing the Indian Ocean outbreak.
A minor change within a species, owing to the widely available combinations of genetic information from each parent, is defined as microevolution.
Dynamics of new science 'macro' leadership: Strategy, microevolution, distributed intelligence, and complexity.
The microevolution of the Galapagos marine iguana Amblyrhynchus cristatus assessed by nuclear and mitochondrial genetic analysis.
It is speculated that the scale of the outbreaks was due to the virus (Central/East African genotype) entering immunologically naive populations and also possibly to a genome microevolution of the virus leading to an increased adaptability with aedes albopictus.
19) See Stephen Jay Gould, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002), 604-8, 612, 703-4: "I propose, as the central proposition of macro-evolution, that species play the same role of fundamental individual that organisms assume in microevolution.
Zeiger contrasts available scientific evidence for microevolution and macroevolution.
The appendices clarify insights into a variety of topics, from the possible use of the Celtic Cross as a navigational tool to a thorough chastisement of the Darwinian theory of macroevolution (while acknowledging that microevolution, as seen through small species changes due to simple natural selection, does exist).