Natural selection, the driving force behind evolution, acts on individual phenotypes. Phenotypes are the result of an individual’s genotype, but the development from genotype to phenotype is not always accurate and precise. Developmental instability (DI: random perturbations in the microenvironment during development) can result in a phenotype that misses its genetic target. In the current study I assert that developmental instability may itself be an evolvable trait. Here I present evidence for DI’s heritability, selectability, and phenotypic variation in the form of empirical data and evidence from the literature from the years 2006 through 2016. Phenotypic variation contributed by DI was estimated using fluctuating asymmetry and was found to contribute up to 60% of the phenotypic variation in certain trait types. I suggest that selection against developmental instability in some traits may result in higher evolvabilities (i.e., rates of evolution) for those traits or for entire taxonomic groups.
|Advisor:||Carter, Ashley JR|
|Commitee:||Stankowich, Theodore, Whitcraft, Christine R.|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biology, Ecology, Evolution and Development|
|Keywords:||Adaptation, Adaptive imprecision, Developmental instability, Evolvability, Fluctuating asymmetry, Natural selection|
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