On the nature and evolutionary impact of phenotypic robustness mechanisms

Mark Siegal, Jun Yi Leu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Biologists have long observed that physiological and developmental processes are insensitive, or robust, to many genetic and environmental perturbations. A complete understanding of the evolutionary causes and consequences of this robustness is lacking. Recent progress has been made in uncovering the regulatory mechanisms that underlie environmental robustness in particular. Less is known about robustness to the effects of mutations, and indeed the evolution of mutational robustness remains a controversial topic. The controversy has spread to related topics, in particular the evolutionary relevance of cryptic genetic variation. This review aims to synthesize current understanding of robustness mechanisms and to cut through the controversy by shedding light on what is and is not known about mutational robustness. Some studies have confused mutational robustness with nonadditive interactions between mutations (epistasis). We conclude that a profitable way forward is to focus investigations (and rhetoric) less on mutational robustness and more on epistasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-517
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
Volume45
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 23 2014

Fingerprint

epistasis
mutation
biologists
genetic variation
perturbation
effect

Keywords

  • canalization
  • conditional neutrality
  • cryptic genetic variation
  • epistasis
  • genotype networks
  • macroenvironmental variation
  • microenvironmental variation
  • mutational robustness
  • phenotypic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

On the nature and evolutionary impact of phenotypic robustness mechanisms. / Siegal, Mark; Leu, Jun Yi.

In: Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, Vol. 45, 23.11.2014, p. 495-517.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{648252db6e03404f8a05554d5c2a24cb,
title = "On the nature and evolutionary impact of phenotypic robustness mechanisms",
abstract = "Biologists have long observed that physiological and developmental processes are insensitive, or robust, to many genetic and environmental perturbations. A complete understanding of the evolutionary causes and consequences of this robustness is lacking. Recent progress has been made in uncovering the regulatory mechanisms that underlie environmental robustness in particular. Less is known about robustness to the effects of mutations, and indeed the evolution of mutational robustness remains a controversial topic. The controversy has spread to related topics, in particular the evolutionary relevance of cryptic genetic variation. This review aims to synthesize current understanding of robustness mechanisms and to cut through the controversy by shedding light on what is and is not known about mutational robustness. Some studies have confused mutational robustness with nonadditive interactions between mutations (epistasis). We conclude that a profitable way forward is to focus investigations (and rhetoric) less on mutational robustness and more on epistasis.",
keywords = "canalization, conditional neutrality, cryptic genetic variation, epistasis, genotype networks, macroenvironmental variation, microenvironmental variation, mutational robustness, phenotypic plasticity",
author = "Mark Siegal and Leu, {Jun Yi}",
year = "2014",
month = "11",
day = "23",
doi = "10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-120213-091705",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "45",
pages = "495--517",
journal = "Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics",
issn = "1543-592X",
publisher = "Annual Reviews Inc.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - On the nature and evolutionary impact of phenotypic robustness mechanisms

AU - Siegal, Mark

AU - Leu, Jun Yi

PY - 2014/11/23

Y1 - 2014/11/23

N2 - Biologists have long observed that physiological and developmental processes are insensitive, or robust, to many genetic and environmental perturbations. A complete understanding of the evolutionary causes and consequences of this robustness is lacking. Recent progress has been made in uncovering the regulatory mechanisms that underlie environmental robustness in particular. Less is known about robustness to the effects of mutations, and indeed the evolution of mutational robustness remains a controversial topic. The controversy has spread to related topics, in particular the evolutionary relevance of cryptic genetic variation. This review aims to synthesize current understanding of robustness mechanisms and to cut through the controversy by shedding light on what is and is not known about mutational robustness. Some studies have confused mutational robustness with nonadditive interactions between mutations (epistasis). We conclude that a profitable way forward is to focus investigations (and rhetoric) less on mutational robustness and more on epistasis.

AB - Biologists have long observed that physiological and developmental processes are insensitive, or robust, to many genetic and environmental perturbations. A complete understanding of the evolutionary causes and consequences of this robustness is lacking. Recent progress has been made in uncovering the regulatory mechanisms that underlie environmental robustness in particular. Less is known about robustness to the effects of mutations, and indeed the evolution of mutational robustness remains a controversial topic. The controversy has spread to related topics, in particular the evolutionary relevance of cryptic genetic variation. This review aims to synthesize current understanding of robustness mechanisms and to cut through the controversy by shedding light on what is and is not known about mutational robustness. Some studies have confused mutational robustness with nonadditive interactions between mutations (epistasis). We conclude that a profitable way forward is to focus investigations (and rhetoric) less on mutational robustness and more on epistasis.

KW - canalization

KW - conditional neutrality

KW - cryptic genetic variation

KW - epistasis

KW - genotype networks

KW - macroenvironmental variation

KW - microenvironmental variation

KW - mutational robustness

KW - phenotypic plasticity

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84913536210&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84913536210&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-120213-091705

DO - 10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-120213-091705

M3 - Article

VL - 45

SP - 495

EP - 517

JO - Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics

JF - Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics

SN - 1543-592X

ER -