What is Evolution?
In biology, evolution is the process of change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next. Genes that are passed on to an organism's offspring produce the inherited traits that are the basis of evolution. Mutations in genes can produce new or altered traits in individuals, resulting in the appearance of heritable differences between organisms. New traits may also arise from the transfer of genes between populations, as in migration, or between species, in horizontal gene transfer. In species that reproduce sexually, new combinations of genes are produced by genetic recombination, which can increase the variation in traits between organisms. Evolution occurs when these heritable differences become more common or rare in a population.
A Quick Evolution Overview Video
This video was made for Pearson's Miller and Levine Biology Textbook. Overall we made 35 videos. I think you'll really like the final product too!
There are two major mechanisms that drive evolution. The first is natural selection, a process causing heritable traits that are helpful for survival and reproduction to become more common in a population, and harmful traits to become more rare. This occurs because individuals with advantageous traits are more likely to reproduce, so that more individuals in the next generation inherit these traits. Over many generations, adaptations occur through a combination of successive, small, random changes in traits, and natural selection of those variants best-suited for their environment. The second is genetic drift, an independent process that produces random changes in the frequency of traits in a population. Genetic drift results from the role probability plays in whether a given trait will be passed on as individuals survive and reproduce. Though the changes produced in any one generation by drift and selection are small, differences accumulate with each subsequent generation and can, over time, cause substantial changes in the organisms.