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Genotype networks shed light on evolutionary constraints


Espinosa-Soto, C; Wagner, A (2011). Genotype networks shed light on evolutionary constraints. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 26(11):577-584.

Abstract

An evolutionary constraint is a bias or limitation in phenotypic variation that a biological system produces. One can distinguish physicochemical, selective, genetic and developmental causes of such constraints. Here, I discuss these causes in three classes of system that bring forth many phenotypic traits and evolutionary innovations: regulatory circuits, macromolecules and metabolic networks. In these systems, genotypes with the same phenotype form large genotype networks that extend throughout a vast genotype space. Such genotype networks can help unify different causes of evolutionary constraints. They can show that these causes ultimately emerge from the process of development; that is, how phenotypes form from genotypes. Furthermore, they can explain important consequences of constraints, such as punctuated stasis and canalization.

Abstract

An evolutionary constraint is a bias or limitation in phenotypic variation that a biological system produces. One can distinguish physicochemical, selective, genetic and developmental causes of such constraints. Here, I discuss these causes in three classes of system that bring forth many phenotypic traits and evolutionary innovations: regulatory circuits, macromolecules and metabolic networks. In these systems, genotypes with the same phenotype form large genotype networks that extend throughout a vast genotype space. Such genotype networks can help unify different causes of evolutionary constraints. They can show that these causes ultimately emerge from the process of development; that is, how phenotypes form from genotypes. Furthermore, they can explain important consequences of constraints, such as punctuated stasis and canalization.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:12 Mar 2012 12:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:39
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0169-5347
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2011.07.001
PubMed ID:21840080

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