Phenotypic determinism and contingency in the evolution of hypothetical tree-like organisms

Autoři: Tomonobu Nonoyama aff001;  Satoshi Chiba aff001
Působiště autorů: Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan aff001;  Center for Northeast Asian Studies, Tohoku University, Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article


Whether evolutionary history is mostly contingent or deterministic has been given much focus in the field of evolutionary biology. Studies addressing this issue have been conducted theoretically, based on models, and experimentally, based on microcosms. It has been argued that the shape of the adaptive landscape and mutation rate are major determinants of replicated phenotypic evolution. In the present study, to incorporate the effects of phenotypic plasticity, we constructed a model using tree-like organisms. In this model, the basic rules used to develop trees are genetically determined, but tree shape (described by the number and aspect ratio of the branches) is determined by both genetic components and plasticity. The results of the simulation show that the tree shapes become more deterministic under higher mutation rates. However, the tree shape became most contingent and diverse at the lower mutation rate. In this situation, the variances of the genetically determinant characters were low, but the variance of the tree shape is rather high, suggesting that phenotypic plasticity results in this contingency and diversity of tree shape. The present findings suggest that plasticity cannot be ignored as a factor that increases contingency and diversity of evolutionary outcomes.

Klíčová slova:

Aspect ratio – Evolutionary biology – Leaves – Organismal evolution – Phenotypes – Trees – Evolutionary developmental biology – Genetic determinism


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