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J Theor Biol. 1999 Jun 21;198(4):519-32.

The evolutionary ecology of dominance-recessivity.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Antwerp (Wilrijk), B-2610, Belgium.

Abstract

An "adaptive dynamics" modelling approach to the evolution of dominance-recessivity is presented. In this approach, fitness derives from an explicit ecological scenario, and both evolutionary attractivity and invasibility of resident populations are examined. The ecology consists of a within-individual part representing a locus with regulated activity and a between-individual part that is a two-patch soft selection model. Evolutionary freedom is allowed at a single locus. The evolutionary analysis considers directed random walks on trait space, generated by repeated invasions of mutants. The phenotype of an individual is determined by allelic parameters. Mutations can have two effects: they either affect the affinity of the promoter sequence for transcription factors, or they affect the gene product. The dominance interaction between alleles derives from their promoter affinities. Additive genetics is evolutionarily unstable when selection and evolution maintain two alleles in the population. In such a situation, dominance interactions can become stationary and close to additive genetics or they continue to evolve at a very slow pace towards dominance-recessivity. The probability that a specific dominance interaction will evolve depends on the relative mutation rate of promoter compared to gene product and the distribution of mutational effect sizes. Either allele in the dimorphism can become dominant, and dominance-recessivity is always most likely to evolve. Evolution then approaches a population state where every phenotype has maximum viability in one of the two patches. When the within-individual part is replaced by a housekeeping locus that codes for a metabolic enzyme, evolution favours a population of two alleles under the same conditions as for a regulated locus. In the case of a housekeeping gene, however, the evolutionary dynamical system approaches a population state where the heterozygote and only one homozygote phenotype are equivalent to the optimum phenotypes in the two patches.

Copyright 1999 Academic Press.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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