Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-22-2019

Keywords

Phenotypes, Morphometry, Morphogens, Genetic polymorphism

Abstract

Genotypic variation, environmental variation, and their interaction may produce variation in the developmental process and cause phenotypic differences among individuals. Developmental noise, which arises during development from stochasticity in cellular and molecular processes when genotype and environment are fixed, also contributes to phenotypic variation. While evolutionary biology has long focused on teasing apart the relative contribution of genes and environment to phenotypic variation, our understanding of the role of developmental noise has lagged due to technical difficulties in directly measuring the contribution of developmental noise. The influence of developmental noise is likely underestimated in studies of phenotypic variation due to intrinsic mechanisms within organisms that stabilize phenotypes and decrease variation. Since we are just beginning to appreciate the extent to which phenotypic variation due to stochasticity is potentially adaptive, the contribution of developmental noise to phenotypic variation must be separated and measured to fully understand its role in evolution. Here, we show that variation in the component of the developmental process corresponding to environmental and genetic factors (here treated together as a unit called the LALI-type) versus the contribution of developmental noise, can be distinguished for leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) head color patterns using mathematical simulations that model the role of random variation (corresponding to developmental noise) in patterning. Specifically, we modified the parameters of simulations corresponding to variation in the LALI-type to generate the full range of phenotypic variation in color pattern seen on the heads of eight leopard geckos. We observed that over the range of these parameters, variation in color pattern due to LALI-type variation exceeds that due to developmental noise in the studied gecko cohort. However, the effect of developmental noise on patterning is also substantial. Our approach addresses one of the major goals of evolutionary biology: to quantify the role of stochasticity in shaping phenotypic variation.

Publication Title

PLoS Computational Biology

Volume

15

Issue

4

DOI

10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006943

Required Publisher's Statement

https://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006943

Copyright: © 2019 Kiskowski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Type

Text

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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