The evolution of phenotypic polymorphism

April 15, 2005

This new study, which will appear in the June 2005 issue of The American Naturalist, asserts that an individual could use his/her genotype as an informative cue when "deciding" which phenotype to develop. This is a new way of looking at certain kinds of genetic polymorphism. Some species have alternative phenotypes, which are different categories of adult individuals specialized for particular circumstances. For instance, if predation risk is high in some local environments and low in others, one category might have a predation resistant phenotype, with protective devices like spines, whereas the other category lacks these devices and is instead more efficient at producing offspring. If a developing individual can, statistically, predict the predation risk, it would be advantageous to develop the phenotype that fits the prediction. With spatial variation in predation risk, genetic determination of phenotypic alternatives can function as this kind of advantageous prediction, since natural selection will make genes for the protected type more common in local environments with high predation risk and less common in those with low risk.

Conceptually, this is the same as using some purely environmental cue signaling the presence of predators to infer the risk of predation. The evolutionary theory developed in this study suggests when genetic variation can function as an informative cue in this manner.
-end-
Sponsored by the American Society of Naturalists, The American Naturalist is a leading journal in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology and animal behavior. For more information, please see our website: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AN.

Olof Leimar (Stockholm University), "The evolution of phenotypic polymorphism: randomized strategies versus evolutionary branching" 165:6 June 2005.

University of Chicago Press Journals

Related Natural Selection Articles from Brightsurf:

Genetic determinants of fertility and ongoing natural selection in humans
A recent study presented at the ASHG 2020 Virtual Meeting suggests genetic variants may be associated with reproductive success.

Forearm artery reveals humans evolving from changes in natural selection
Humans haven't developed genetic mutations for telepathy or superpowers just yet, but a new study shows our species is still evolving in unique ways and changes in the natural selection could be the major reason.

Novel technology for the selection of single photosynthetic cells
New research, published in the journal Science Advances, demonstrates how microfluidic technologies can be used to identify, isolate and propagate specific single photosynthetically active cells for fundamental industry applications and improved ecosystem understanding.

Genomic selection in dairy cows creates opportunities not possible with traditional selection
The 2019 ADSA Annual Meeting featured the Joint ADSA/Interbull Breeding and Genetics Symposia titled ''Ten Years of Genomic Selection'' and ''Data Pipelines for Implementation of Genomic Evaluation of Novel Traits.'' Because of genomic selection's importance to dairy science, the Journal of Dairy Science invited the speakers to submit articles and share information from these symposia with a wider audience.

Recurrent genomic selection for wheat grain fructans
Development of Climate-Resilient, Nutritionally Improved Wheat

NASA's OSIRIS-REx in the midst of site selection
After a lengthy and challenging process, the team is finally ready to down-select from the four candidate sites to a primary and backup site.

The argument for sexual selection in bacteria
The evolutionary pressure to pass on DNA can produce behavior that otherwise makes no sense in a struggle to survive.

Sexual selection influences the evolution of lamprey pheromones
In 'Intra- and Interspecific Variation in Production of Bile Acids that Act As Sex Pheromones in Lampreys,' published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, Tyler J.

Infection biology: Signs of selection in the stomach
Helicobacter pylori, a globally distributed gastric bacterium, is genetically highly adaptable.

Study finds natural selection favors cheaters
Natural selection predicts that mutualisms -- interactions between members of different species that benefit both parties -- should fall apart.

Read More: Natural Selection News and Natural Selection Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.