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Difference Between Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism

The differentiating factor between Darwinism and Neo Darwinism is that Darwinism corresponds to the suitable phenotypic variations, which can be inherited, are the responsible forces for speciation. Neo Darwinism, on the other hand, relates to the genetic variation only which can be inherited are the responsible forces for speciation.

Darwin developed the concept of Darwinism elucidating the origin of new speciation. As per him, in individuals, accumulation of fittest phylogenetic variations is the major driving force of speciation, hence the natural selection is the survival of the fittest in the environment. Neo Darwinism is a modified theory of Darwinism explaining the origin of species on a genetic basis, hence the main driving force of Neo Darwinism is genetic variation. Consequently, the main difference lies in the variation type and type of natural selection.


  • Darwin and a few others advanced Darwinism, it is the theory of biological evolution
  • It explains that species tend to develop via some natural selection of suitable phenotypic variations which can be inherited. This expands the ability of an individual to survive, compete and also to reproduce.
  • 4 fundamental views of Darwinism are – entities reproduce more which exceeds the extent of individuals capable of surviving. Such individuals possess phenotypic variations that are inheritable. Amongst these various phenotypes, few are favorable to the conditions compared to others. Fittest phenotypes gather within individuals with time as natural selection causes origination of new species in them.

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  • This is an altered explanation of Darwin’s theory with regards to modern synthesis of natural selection and Mendelian genetics.
  • The main force driving speciation is the gathering of genotypic variations in a gene pool
  • Sometimes this theory is also referred to as the Modern synthetic theory of natural selection.
  • Reproductive isolation has a major part in speciation allowing differential amplification of the fittest genes in a gene pool. Thus, natural selection of the most suitable genes is associated with the origination of new species.

Differences between Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism

Listed below are some important differences between Darwinism and neo-Darwinism:

Attributes Darwinism Neo-Darwinism
What it states Evolution theory of species advanced by Darwin by natural


Modern interpretation of Darwin’s theory by natural selection with discoveries of genetics
Adaptation Original theory Altered as per the information based on modern synthesis of natural selection and Mendelian genetics
Main driving force Collection of phenotypic variations Collection of genetic variations
Natural selection Survival of fittest and removal of unfit entities with time Differential amplification of fittest genotypes and genes
Purpose for variation Not explained Reason explained as genetic recombination, mutation, reproductive isolation and natural selection
Role of isolation in evolution Does not have a role Has a major role

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