The evolutionary genetics of cave fishes: Convergence, adaptation and pleiotropy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Cave animals have converged repeatedly on a troglomorphic suite of characters including regression of eyes and pigmentation, augmentation of other senses, and changes in morphology, metabolism and behavior. Convergences are evolution’s “experimental replicates” and their study permits the testing of hypotheses about the evolutionary process. The genetic bases for these changes are the focus of this review. We cover the Mendelian, quantitative and molecular genetics of troglomorphic evolution, and the population genetics of cave forms, with an emphasis on the Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus. Molecular data is useful for reconstructing the relationships of cave populations, but gene flow into and out of cave populations can obscure relationships. We examine the roles of selection and drift in troglomorphic evolution and conclude that both processes are important. Direct selection against eyes in the cave probably reflects energy conservation and the high metabolic cost of maintaining the retina. Indirect selection through pleiotropy is probably a major factor in all evolutionary adaptation to new environments, including the cave.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiology of Subterranean Fishes
PublisherCRC Press
Pages115-139
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781439840481
ISBN (Print)9781138115477
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

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pleiotropy
caves
Fishes
fish
eyes
evolutionary adaptation
energy conservation
Gene Flow
Molecular Evolution
Pigmentation
quantitative genetics
Population Genetics
retina
molecular genetics
pigmentation
genetic background
Population
Retina
Molecular Biology
population genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

The evolutionary genetics of cave fishes : Convergence, adaptation and pleiotropy. / Borowsky, Richard.

Biology of Subterranean Fishes. CRC Press, 2010. p. 115-139.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Borowsky, Richard. / The evolutionary genetics of cave fishes : Convergence, adaptation and pleiotropy. Biology of Subterranean Fishes. CRC Press, 2010. pp. 115-139
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