In the science of biology, a mechanism is a system of causally interacting parts and processes that produce one or more effects. Scientists explain phenomena by describing mechanisms that could produce the phenomena. For example, natural selection is a mechanism of biological evolution; other mechanisms of evolution include genetic drift, mutation, and gene flow. In ecology, mechanisms such as predation and host-parasite interactions produce change in ecological systems. In practice, no description of a mechanism is ever complete because not all details of the parts and processes of a mechanism are fully known. For example, natural selection is a mechanism of evolution that includes countless, inter-individual interactions with other individuals, components, and processes of the environment in which natural selection operates.
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