MODULARITY AND THE COST OF COMPLEXITY

MODULARITY AND THE COST OF COMPLEXITY Abstract. In this work we consider the geometrical model of R. A. Fisher, in which individuals are characterized by a number of phenotypic characters under optimizing selection. Recent work on this model by H. A. Orr has demonstrated that as the number of characters increases, there is a significant reduction in the rate of adaptation. Orr has dubbed this a “cost of complexity.” Although there is little evidence as to whether such a cost applies in the natural world, we suggest that the prediction is surprising, at least naively. With this in mind, we examine the robustness of Orr's prediction by modifiying the model in various ways that might reduce or remove the cost. In particular, we explore the suggestion that modular pleiotropy, in which mutations affect only a subset of the traits, could play an important role. We conclude that although modifications of the model can mitigate the cost to a limited extent, Orr's finding is robust. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Evolution Wiley

MODULARITY AND THE COST OF COMPLEXITY

Evolution, Volume 57 (8) – Aug 1, 2003

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0014-3820
eISSN
1558-5646
D.O.I.
10.1111/j.0014-3820.2003.tb00581.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract. In this work we consider the geometrical model of R. A. Fisher, in which individuals are characterized by a number of phenotypic characters under optimizing selection. Recent work on this model by H. A. Orr has demonstrated that as the number of characters increases, there is a significant reduction in the rate of adaptation. Orr has dubbed this a “cost of complexity.” Although there is little evidence as to whether such a cost applies in the natural world, we suggest that the prediction is surprising, at least naively. With this in mind, we examine the robustness of Orr's prediction by modifiying the model in various ways that might reduce or remove the cost. In particular, we explore the suggestion that modular pleiotropy, in which mutations affect only a subset of the traits, could play an important role. We conclude that although modifications of the model can mitigate the cost to a limited extent, Orr's finding is robust.

Journal

EvolutionWiley

Published: Aug 1, 2003

Keywords: ; ; ; ;

References

  • The role of hybridization in evolution
    Barton, N. H.
  • A simple stochastic gene substitution process
    Gillespie, J.
  • A mathematical theory of natural and artificial selection. V. Selection and mutation
    Haldane, J. B. S.
  • Oxford surveys in evolutionary biology
    Leigh, E. G.
  • Dynamics of adaptation and diversification: a 10,000‐generation experiment with bacterial populations
    Lenski, R. E.; Trevisiano, M.
  • Biotic interactions and global climate change
    Lynch, M.; Lande, R.
  • Natural selection and the concept of portein space
    Maynard Smith, J.
  • What determines the rate of evolution
    Maynard Smith, J.
  • The evolutionary genetics of adaptation: a simulation study
    Orr, H. A.
  • Compensating for our load of mutations: freezing the meltdown of small populations
    Poon, A.; Otto, S. P.

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