Wagner Lab Research

University of Zurich

Institute of
Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies




Modern biology raises fundamental conceptual questions. We explore such questions and their implications, which go far beyond biology and science. One of them relates to the notion of causality, central to understanding the world around us. How does it hold up when faced with the extraordinary complexity of biological systems? Relatedly, what do we mean when we say that we can understand the phenotype by studying the genotype? Some of these questions are long-standing puzzles in evolutionary biology, which we aim to resolve with our research and the latest data. How important is neutral change for evolutionary adaptation and innovation? And what is the role of randomness in Darwinian evolution?

Selected Publications

Wagner, A. (2012) The role of randomness in Darwinian evolution. Philosophy of Science 79, 95-119. [reprint request]

Wagner, A. (2008) Neutralism and selectionism: A network-based reconciliation. Nature Reviews Genetics 9, 965-974. [reprint request]

Wagner, A.  (1999) Causality in complex systems. Biology and Philosophy 14, 83-101 [reprint request]

Wagner, A. (1997) Models in the biological sciences. In: Dialektik 1997 (1) Falkenburg, B.; Hauser, S. (Eds.),  43-57. Felix Meiner, Hamburg. [reprint request]

Wagner, A. (1995) Reductionism in Evolutionary Biology: A Perceptional Artifact? in 1993 Lectures in Complex Systems, eds. D. Stein and L. Nadel, Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, Lect. Vol. VI, Reading, MA:Addison-Wesley, 603-611.  [reprint request]