3 years ago

Testing the neutral hypothesis of phenotypic evolution [Evolution]

Testing the neutral hypothesis of phenotypic evolution [Evolution]
Jianzhi Zhang, Yoshikazu Ohya, Wei-Chin Ho

Although evolution by natural selection is widely regarded as the most important principle of biology, it is unknown whether phenotypic variations within and between species are mostly adaptive or neutral due to the lack of relevant studies of large, unbiased samples of phenotypic traits. Here, we examine 210 yeast morphological traits chosen because of experimental feasibility irrespective of their potential adaptive values. Our analysis is based on the premise that, under neutrality, the rate of phenotypic evolution measured in the unit of mutational size declines as the trait becomes more important to fitness, analogous to the neutral paradigm that functional genes evolve more slowly than functionless pseudogenes. However, we find faster evolution of more important morphological traits within and between species, rejecting the neutral hypothesis. By contrast, an analysis of 3,466 gene expression traits fails to refute neutrality. Thus, at least in yeast, morphological evolution appears largely adaptive, but the same may not apply to other classes of phenotypes. Our neutrality test is applicable to other species, especially genetic model organisms, for which estimations of mutational size and trait importance are relatively straightforward.

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.