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Integrating developmental plasticity into eco-evolutionary population dynamics

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Isabel SmallegangeORCiD


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There are increasing calls to incorporate developmental plasticity into the framework of eco-evolutionary dynamics. The current way is via genotype-specified reaction norms in which inheritance and phenotype expression are gene-based. I propose a developmental system perspective in which phenotypes are formed during individual development in a process comprising a complex set of interactions that involve genes, biochemistry, somatic state, and the (a)biotic environment, and where the developmental system is the unit of phenotype evolution. I explain how the two perspectives differ in assumptions and predictions, which can be contrasted using cue-and-response systems of anticipatory or mitigating developmental plasticity. This can lead to new ways of eco-evolutionary thinking, and deliver important explanations of how populations respond to environmental change through evolved developmental plasticity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Smallegange IM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Trends in Ecology & Evolution

Year: 2022

Volume: 37

Issue: 2

Pages: 129-137

Print publication date: 01/02/2022

Online publication date: 11/01/2022

Acceptance date: 14/10/2021

ISSN (electronic): 0169-5347

Publisher: Elseiver


DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2021.09.005


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