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Studying phenotypic plasticity: The advantages of a broad approach

AutorGianoli, Ernesto; Valladares Ros, Fernando
Fecha de publicación1-ene-2012
EditorLinnean Society of London
John Wiley & Sons
CitaciónBiological Journal of the Linnean Society 105(1): 1-7 (2012)
ResumenPhenotypic plasticity is traditionally defined as the capacity of a given genotype to render alternative phenotypes under different environmental conditions. Some studies focus on the individual genotype to study 'true' phenotypic plasticity, regardless of the level of ecological organization involved in each particular study. We argue that, depending on the research question and the scale, there are advantages of looking beyond the genetic identity of each individual phenotype when addressing phenotypic plasticity. This broad approach may simplify experimental designs, increase their statistical power, and allow a more inclusive estimation of the extent of phenotypic plasticity in natural populations. We also posit that when the focus is on the ecological significance of a given phenotype, the final ontogenetic stage and size of the experimental individuals whose plastic responses are compared should not be necessarily considered as confounding factors. A broad approach to the genotypic basis of phenotypic responses, focusing on the representativeness of the genotypic sample, together with the recognition that any environmentally-induced phenotypic change is legitimate plasticity (and potential target of natural selection), may contribute to the understanding of the ecological significance of phenotypic plasticity
DescripciónReceived 24 June 2011; revised 8 August 2011; accepted for publication 8 August 2011
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01793.x
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01793.x
issn: 0024-4066
e-issn: 1095-8312
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