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I am broadly interested in evolutionary ecology, particularly how the environment and developmental processes affect evolution. Different forms of phenotypic plasticity are therefore reoccurring in my work. My previous work focused mainly on how genes affect (social) behavior and the other way around. I am now broadening my scope into the exciting fields of developmental plasticity and epigenetics. I am rounding-up a project on maternal effects in Daphnia and start to work on the importance of developmental bias in evolution.

The relative importance of development bias in evolution

Tags: developmental bias - genetics - epigenetics

In the traditional framework of evolution, mutations are regarded as the ultimate source of genetic variation and natural selection as the filtering process determining which variants are conserved for future generations and which are not. Effects of the environment as well as developmental processes on the way genotypes translate to phenotypes are regarded random and not affecting evolution. However, the developmental system organisms are subject to is also shaped by evolution, therefore the way genes and the environment affect the phenotype are coordinated and can be directional and even functional. The evolutionary trajectory a species takes is therefore affected by development. This developmental bias is often marginalized as anecdotal. In this project we will use meta-analysis to investigate how widespread developmental bias is, whether cryptic genetic variation — which is released in novel environments — is non-random and how phenotypic plasticity plays a role in these processes. This project is part of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis research program.

related publications

Uller T, Feiner N, Radersma R, Jackson I, Rago A, 2019. Developmental plasticity and evolutionary explanations. Evolution & Development. : e12314.

Noble DWA*, Radersma R*, Uller T, 2019. Plastic responses to novel environments are biased towards phenotype dimensions with high additive genetic variation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116: 13452-13461.

Relevant links:
Uller group, Lund
Extended Evolutionary Synthesis
Department of Biology, Lund
The Edward Grey Institute, Oxford
Animal Ecology, Groningen
Behavioural Ecology and Self-organization, Groningen

 © text: Reinder Radersma, 2018
 © image: Sylvain Haye, 2008