natural selection

noun

Definition of natural selection

: a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment

Examples of natural selection in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kristian Andersen, Scripps Research Moreover, a bioweapon designer would want maximum impact and might rely on history to obtain it, but the novel coronavirus carries subtle flaws indicative of natural selection. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 26 Mar. 2020 On the remaining paths, natural selection dead-ends below the highest peak—sometimes far below. David P. Barash, WSJ, "‘Life Finds a Way’ and ‘Good Enough’ Review: The Drive to Thrive," 28 June 2019 Gene transfer from one kind of organism to another happens in nature although genetic changes within species due to mutation and natural selection are far more common. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Hope for Colorado kids hangs on gene editing," 5 Dec. 2019 Those and the other plant books all retold the story: excess population, competition for resources, and random variation, with its attendant differential success in reproduction, constitute natural selection, yielding elaborate adaptations. David Quammen, The New York Review of Books, "The Brilliant Plodder," 8 Apr. 2020 Mutations that are harmful to the viruses are less likely to survive and are eliminated through natural selection. Mary Petrone And Nathan Grubaugh, CNN, "Coronavirus mutations: Much ado about nothing," 7 Mar. 2020 The first is natural selection, the endless inventive process of evolution that keeps molding organisms into more and more complex arrangements and codependencies. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Just a Few Billion Years Left to Go," 4 Mar. 2020 Discovered by humans in the 16th century, when a Spanish ship happened upon it after having drifted off course en route to Peru, the archipelago famously inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Popular Science, "Even with international protections, the Galápagos Islands are becoming more vulnerable to humans," 21 Jan. 2020 But federal wildlife managers and some indigenous communities are loath to adopt such techniques that move away from natural selection in mating. Washington Post, "Time ticks away at wild bison genetic diversity," 3 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'natural selection.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of natural selection

1842, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for natural selection

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The first known use of natural selection was in 1842

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Statistics for natural selection

Last Updated

9 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Natural selection.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/natural%20selection. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for natural selection

natural selection

noun

English Language Learners Definition of natural selection

: the process by which plants and animals that can adapt to changes in their environment are able to survive and reproduce while those that cannot adapt do not survive

natural selection

noun

Medical Definition of natural selection

: a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment

More from Merriam-Webster on natural selection

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about natural selection

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