Title

Constraints Evolve: Context-Dependency of Gene Effects Allows Evolution of Pleiotropy

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2015

Publication Title

Annual Review of Evolution, Ecology, and Systematics

Volume

46

Pages

413-434

Publisher Name

Annual Reviews

Abstract

Evolutionary constraint due to pleiotropy refers to a situation in which mutations in genes shared among traits generate trait covariance; therefore, traits that are not directly exposed to selective challenge show a correlated response. When such a correlated response is deleterious, it may constrain the trait from evolving. Here, we argue that the idea of absolute constraints draws from the perception that gene effects are inherent to alleles and thus invariant across genetic and environmental backgrounds. However, evidence from studies involving genetic effects on multiple traits, observed across different genetic backgrounds and environments, supports the notion that genes’ effects on traits change. Consequently, pleiotropy also varies across backgrounds. We argue for a stronger emphasis on interaction effects when describing a trait’s genetic basis and its evolutionary potential. By discussing different cases of trait individuation, we demonstrate how this approach can lead to new insights.

Identifier

1545-2069

Comments

Author Posting. © Annual Reviews, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of Annual Reviews for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Annual Review of Evolution, Ecology, and Systematics, Vol. 46, (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-120213-091721.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.