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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 5 December 2008 Referencing Hub media

    There are two key factors that drive evolution. Another factor can really help to speed up evolution. What is this third factor and how does it work?


    David Ackerley (Victoria University, Wellington): Darwin identified two factors which drive evolution – there was basically variation between individuals and the selective force, which he termed natural selection. Which is that in different environments, variation between individuals will give those individuals either a greater or a lesser ability to succeed in that particular environment. The variations that lead to improvement in fitness will tend to predominate, and so you will get a drift in that direction with evolution over time.

    There is just one other thing that Darwin didn't comment quite so heavily on, and it may have been his puritanical upbringing, but the third factor that’s really important is sexual recombination in really speeding the whole process up.