New thoughts on an old riddle: what determines genetic diversity within and between species?
The question of what determines genetic diversity both between and within species has long remained unsolved by the modern evolutionary theory (MET). However, it has not deterred researchers from producing interpretations of genetic diversity by using MET. We here examine the two key experimental observations of genetic diversity made in the 1960s, one between species and the other within a population of a species, that directly contributed to the development of MET. The interpretations of these observations as well as the assumptions by MET are widely known to be inadequate. We review the recent progress of an alternative framework, the maximum genetic diversity (MGD) hypothesis, that uses axioms and natural selection to explain the vast majority of genetic diversity as being at optimum equilibrium that is largely determined by organismal complexity. The MGD hypothesis fully absorbs the proven virtues of MET and considers its assumptions relevant only to a much more limited scope. This new synthesis has accounted for the much overlooked phenomenon of progression towards higher complexity, and more importantly, been instrumental in directing productive research into both evolutionary and biomedical problems.