Biology as Poetry: Evolutionary Biology

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Divergent Evolution

Descent with modification resulting in increasing dissimilarity between two or more species.

Divergent evolution is the standard expectation with macroevoluiton. After speciation events, that is, one expects evolutionary divergence in terms of both genotype and phenotype, that is, divergent evolution.

With convergent evolution, by contrast, there instead is a converging of types rather than a diverging of types, especially in terms of phenotype. Lineages, in other words, sometimes become phenotypically more similar rather than less similar, that is, rather than the more typical divergence.

Even so, most or all of genotype tends to continue to diverge as do most aspects of phenotype. Thus, in macroevolution even when there is convergent evolution, divergent evolution nonetheless still predominates.

Contrast also with diversifying selection which is an aspect of microevolution rather than macroevolution. Diversifying selection describes within-species evolutionary divergence while divergent evolution is a description instead of between-species evolutionary divergence.

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