A proposed terminology of convergent evolution

George R. McGhee, Isabelle Hue, Justine Dardaillon, Pierre Pontarotti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this paper, we propose a unified terminology of convergence, in which the phenomenon of convergent evolution is the set, and the types of convergent evolution are subsets of that phenomenon. The set of the convergence phenomenon contains all of the same or very similar traits that have evolved independently in different lineages of organisms. This set contains three subsets that specify the three pathways by which evolution may produce convergence: allo-convergent evolution, iso-convergent evolution, and retro-convergent evolution. Allo-convergent evolution is the independent evolution of the same or very similar new trait from different precursor traits in different lineages, iso-convergent evolution is the independent evolution of the same or very similar new trait from the same precursor trait in different lineages, and retro-convergent evolution is the independent re-evolution of the same or very similar trait to an ancestral trait in different lineages. This unified convergence terminology is proposed to replace the older and confusing terms parallel evolution, reverse evolution, and convergent evolution sensu stricto.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOrigin and Evolution of Biodiversity
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783319959542
ISBN (Print)9783319959535
StatePublished - Aug 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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