Feb 20, 2007

The evolution of trade-offs: where are we?

Journal of Evolutionary Biology
D A Roff, D J Fairbairn


Trade-offs are a core component of many evolutionary models, particularly those dealing with the evolution of life histories. In the present paper, we identify four topics of key importance for studies of the evolutionary biology of trade-offs. First, we consider the underlying concept of 'constraint'. We conclude that this term is typically used too vaguely and suggest that 'constraint' in the sense of a bias should be clearly distinguished from 'constraint' in the sense of proscribed combinations of traits or evolutionary trajectories. Secondly, we address the utility of the acquisition-allocation model (the 'Y-model'). We find that, whereas this model and its derivatives have provided new insights, a misunderstanding of the pivotal equation has led to incorrect predictions and faulty tests. Thirdly, we ask how trade-offs are expected to evolve under directional selection. A quantitative genetic model predicts that, under weak or short-term selection, the intercept will change but the slope will remain constant. Two empirical tests support this prediction but these are based on comparisons of geographic populations: more direct tests will come from artificial selection experiments. Finally, we discuss what maintains variation...Continue Reading

  • References47
  • Citations213


  • References47
  • Citations213


Mentioned in this Paper

Intercept Substance
Mutation Abnormality
Biological Evolution
Selection, Genetic
EAF2 gene

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