Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Wright, Sewall

US population geneticist at Chicago and Wisconsin. PhD (Harvard) under William Castle. With Chetverikov, Fisher, and Haldane, Wright co-promoted the early stages of the modern synthesis of Darwinism and postMendelism in the 1930s (neo-Darwinism). Wright developed the relationship between microevolution and small population size; aka genetic drift, or the Sewall Wright effect. He also advanced the concepts of inbreeding, isolation by distance, and gene flow. He differed with R. A. Fisher on the importance of genetic drift vs. selection. Wright viewed his central contribution to population genetics to be the shifting balance theory. He also contributed significantly to the development of path analysis. Author of 200 research articles; author of Evolution and the Genetics of Populations, 4 vols. (1968-78).

See also adaptive landscape and multiple-peaked fitness surface.

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