Mar 27, 2018

Modern spandrels: The roles of genetic drift, gene flow and natural selection in the formation of parallel clines

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
James S SantangeloRob W Ness


Urban environments offer the opportunity to study the role of adaptive and non-adaptive evolutionary processes on an unprecedented scale. While the presence of parallel clines in heritable phenotypic traits is often considered strong evidence for the role of natural selection, non-adaptive evolutionary processes can also generate clines, and this may be more likely when traits have a non-additive genetic basis due to epistasis. In this paper, we use spatially-explicit simulations modelled according to the cyanogenesis (HCN) polymorphism in white clover (Trifolium repens) to examine the formation of phenotypic clines along urbanization gradients under varying levels of drift, gene flow and selection. HCN results from an epistatic interaction between two Mendelian-inherited loci. Our results demonstrate that the genetic architecture of this trait makes natural populations susceptible to decreases in HCN frequencies via drift. Gradients in the strength of drift across a landscape resulted in phenotypic clines with lower frequencies of HCN in strongly drifting populations, giving the misleading appearance of deterministic adaptive changes in the phenotype. Studies of heritable phenotypic change in urban populations should generate ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Genetic Drift
Gene Polymorphism
Diagnostic Equipment
Cell Differentiation Process
Clinitrachus argentatus
Glycine Dehydrogenase (Cyanide-forming) Activity

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