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 Most longevity researchers agree that aging, the set of physical processes of damage and decay that result in death, is not an adaptive trait shaped by natural selection. New York Times, "How Long Can We Live?," 28 Apr. 2021 Overcoming that legacy of natural selection means recreating the lattice-like structure of healthy skin, and the mechanical properties that come with it — the last two requirements for achieving scar-free wound healing, said Atit. Megan Molteni, STAT, "In mouse experiments, scientists unlock the key to scar-free skin healing," 24 Apr. 2021 Bezos introduced his thoughts by quoting a lengthy passage from The Blind Watchmaker, a book by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins about how unconscious natural selection designed the stunning complexities of life on earth. Marc Bain, Quartz, "Jeff Bezos’s parting note as Amazon’s CEO is about biology and death," 15 Apr. 2021 The raw material for evolution, the stuff with which natural selection can play, is genomic variation, and a main source of this variation is mixing the genomes of mothers and fathers. Natalie De Souza, The New York Review of Books, "Editing Humanity’s Future," 13 Apr. 2021 Most of these mutations end up being disadvantageous to the virus and therefore disappear through natural selection. Paulo Verardi, The Conversation, "How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns," 8 Apr. 2021 But if life is to achieve any kind of complexity, the only way that complexity can accumulate is if favorable changes and innovations are retained and unfavorable ones are lost — and that’s precisely evolution by natural selection. Quanta Magazine, "Why Extraterrestrial Life May Not Seem Entirely Alien," 18 Mar. 2021 Hopefully, one day, natural selection will take care of it for good. Mirel Zaman, refinery29.com, "Is Everyone Secretly Napping While Working From Home?," 15 Mar. 2021 As a result, natural selection acted strongly and quickly to weed out the deadly gene variant to low levels, the researchers report today in The American Journal of Human Genetics. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "How tuberculosis reshaped our immune systems," 4 Mar. 2021

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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Natural selection.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/natural%20selection. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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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