Genetic Mechanisms for Adapting to a Changing Environment

Genetic Mechanisms for Adapting to a Changing Environment Darwin's The Origin of Species demonstrated the value of systematic and biogeographic studies and, as a result, the analysis of genetic variation within and between species has continued to be a major research focus of evolution­ ary biologists for more than a century. Population biologists focused their efforts on morphological characters until the 1 960s, when the application of protein electrophoresis uncovered a wealth of unexpected genetic variation. Subsequent biogeographical studies sometimes revealed directional changes in gene frequency (i. e. clines; 44) correlated with one or more environmental parameters. Although these authors touted such studies as evidence for natural selection, other researchers suggested alternate mechanisms. Over the next two decades, the extent of the genetic variation uncovered by p rotein electrophoresis was so great that questions arose concerning the significance, or lack thereof, of these polymorphic loci. In fact, few subjects in biology have been more strongly debated than the evolutionary significance of p rotein polymorphisms. Most of the debate centered around two contrast­ ing views: the "selectionist" and the "neutralist." Proponents of the selection­ ists ' school asserted that natural selection maintains protein polymorphisms, whereas those of the neutralists' persuasion argued that the vast maj ority of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Genetics Annual Reviews

Genetic Mechanisms for Adapting to a Changing Environment

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Publisher
Annual Reviews
Copyright
Copyright 1991 Annual Reviews. All rights reserved
Subject
Review Articles
ISSN
0066-4197
eISSN
1545-2948
DOI
10.1146/annurev.ge.25.120191.003213
pmid
1812817
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Darwin's The Origin of Species demonstrated the value of systematic and biogeographic studies and, as a result, the analysis of genetic variation within and between species has continued to be a major research focus of evolution­ ary biologists for more than a century. Population biologists focused their efforts on morphological characters until the 1 960s, when the application of protein electrophoresis uncovered a wealth of unexpected genetic variation. Subsequent biogeographical studies sometimes revealed directional changes in gene frequency (i. e. clines; 44) correlated with one or more environmental parameters. Although these authors touted such studies as evidence for natural selection, other researchers suggested alternate mechanisms. Over the next two decades, the extent of the genetic variation uncovered by p rotein electrophoresis was so great that questions arose concerning the significance, or lack thereof, of these polymorphic loci. In fact, few subjects in biology have been more strongly debated than the evolutionary significance of p rotein polymorphisms. Most of the debate centered around two contrast­ ing views: the "selectionist" and the "neutralist." Proponents of the selection­ ists ' school asserted that natural selection maintains protein polymorphisms, whereas those of the neutralists' persuasion argued that the vast maj ority of

Journal

Annual Review of GeneticsAnnual Reviews

Published: Dec 1, 1991

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