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Title

A heuristic model on the role of plasticity in adaptive evolution: Plasticity increases adaptation, population viability and genetic variation

AuthorsGómez-Mestre, Iván ; Jovani, Roger
KeywordsGenetic variation
Bottleneck
Selection
Heterogeneus environment
Genetic accommodation
Adaptation
Developmental plasticity
Issue Date2013
PublisherRoyal Society (Great Britain)
CitationProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280 nº 1771 (2013)
AbstractAn ongoing new synthesis in evolutionary theory is expanding our view of the sources of heritable variation beyond point mutations of fixed phenotypic effects to include environmentally sensitive changes in gene regulation. This expansion of the paradigm is necessary given ample evidence for a heritable ability to alter gene expression in response to environmental cues. In consequence, single genotypes are often capable of adaptively expressing different phenotypes in different environments, i.e. are adaptively plastic. We present an individual-based heuristic model to compare the adaptive dynamics of populations composed of plastic or non-plastic genotypes under a wide range of scenarios where we modify environmental variation, mutation rate and costs of plasticity. The model shows that adaptive plasticity contributes to the maintenance of genetic variation within populations, reduces bottlenecks when facing rapid environmental changes and confers an overall faster rate of adaptation. In fluctuating environments, plasticity is favoured by selection and maintained in the population. However, if the environment stabilizes and costs of plasticity are high, plasticity is reduced by selection, leading to genetic assimilation, which could result in species diversification. More broadly, our model shows that adaptive plasticity is a common consequence of selection under environmental heterogeneity, and hence a potentially common phenomenon in nature. Thus, taking adaptive plasticity into account substantially extends our view of adaptive evolution. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/90215
DOI10.1098/rspb.2013.1869
Identifiersdoi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1869
issn: 0962-8452
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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