Send to

Choose Destination
Am Nat. 2004 Jun;163(6):809-22. Epub 2004 May 7.

Parallel evolution and inheritance of quantitative traits.

Author information

Zoology Department and Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.


Parallel phenotypic evolution, the independent evolution of the same trait in closely related lineages, is interesting because it tells us about the contribution of natural selection to phenotypic evolution. Haldane and others have proposed that parallel evolution also results from a second process, the similarly biased production of genetic variation in close relatives, an idea that has received few tests. We suggest that influence of shared genetic biases should be detectable by the disproportionate use of the same genes in independent instances of parallel phenotypic evolution. We show how progress in testing this prediction can be made through simple tests of parallel inheritance of genetic differences: similar additive, dominance, and epistasis components in analysis of line means and similar effective numbers of loci. We demonstrate parallel inheritance in two traits, lateral plate number and body shape, in two lineages of threespine stickleback that have adapted independently to freshwater streams on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean. Notably, reduction of plate number in freshwater involves a substitution at the same major locus in both lineages. Our results represent only a first step in the study of the genetics of parallel phenotypic evolution in sticklebacks. Nevertheless, we have shown how such studies can be employed to test the genetic hypothesis of parallel evolution and how study of parallel evolution might yield insights into the roles of both selection and genetic constraint in phenotypic evolution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for University of Chicago Press
Loading ...
Support Center