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Most Colorful Example of Genetic Assimilation ? Exploring the Evolutionary Destiny of Recurrent Phenotypic Accommodation [The American Naturalist]

Keywords : genetic assimilation, developmental plasticity, phenotypic accommodation, carotenoids

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Evolution of adaptation requires both generation of novel phenotypic variation and retention of a locally beneficial subset of this variation. Such retention can be facilitated by genetic assimilation, the accumulation of genetic and molecular mechanisms that stabilize induced phenotypes and assume progressively greater control over their reliable production. A particularly strong inference into genetic assimilation as an evolutionary process requires a system where it is possible to directly evaluate the extent to which an induced phenotype is progressively incorporated into preexisting developmental pathways. Evolution of diet-dependent pigmentation in birds—where external carotenoids are coopted into internal metabolism to a variable degree before being integrated with a feather’s developmental processes—provides such an opportunity.(...)

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