A reassessment of genetic limits to evolutionary change

Blows, M. W. and Hoffmann, A. A. (2005) A reassessment of genetic limits to evolutionary change. Ecology, 86 6: 1371-1384. doi:10.1890/04-1209

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Author Blows, M. W.
Hoffmann, A. A.
Title A reassessment of genetic limits to evolutionary change
Journal name Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-9658
Publication date 2005
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1890/04-1209
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 86
Issue 6
Start page 1371
End page 1384
Total pages 14
Editor Robert K Peet
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Abstract An absence of genetic variance in traits under selection is perhaps the oldest explanation for a limit to evolutionary change, but has also been the most easily dismissed. We review a range of theoretical and empirical results covering single traits to more complex multivariate systems, and show that an absence of genetic variance may be more common than is currently appreciated. From a single-trait perspective, we highlight that it is becoming clear that some trait types do not display significant levels of genetic variation, and we raise the possibility that species with restricted ranges may differ qualitatively from more widespread species in levels of genetic variance in ecologically important traits. A common misconception in many life-history studies is that a lack of genetic variance in single traits, and genetic constraints as a consequence of bivariate genetic correlations, are different causes of selection limits. We detail how interpretations of bivariate patterns are unlikely to demonstrate genetic limits to selection in many cases. We advocate a multivariate definition of genetic constraints that emphasizes the presence (or otherwise) of genetic variance in the multivariate direction of selection. For multitrait systems, recent results using longer term studies of organisms, in which more is understood concerning what traits may be under selection, have indicated that selection may exhaust genetic variance, resulting in a limit to the selection response.
Keyword Genetic Correlations And Variance
G Matrix
Life-history Studies
Natural Selection
Response To Selection
Selection Experiments
Species Distributions
Lifetime Reproductive Success
Quantitative Genetics
Artificial Selection
Adaptive Evolution
Correlational Selection
Insecticide Resistance
Directional Selection
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
2006 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 284 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 282 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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