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Trends Ecol Evol. 1991 Apr;6(4):122-6. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(91)90090-K.

The effects of phenotypic plasticity on genetic correlations.

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Zoology Institute, University of Basel, Rheinsprung 9, CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland.


Recent theory suggests that genetic correlations should help to predict the simultaneous response to selection of two or more traits, and much recent research has been directed towards understanding the sources of variation in genetic correlations. Genetic correlations can change from sample to sample, from species to species, from population to population, during the course of development and - within a population, at a fixed stage of development - from one environment to another. These are changes not only in magnitude but also in sign. Theory suggests that genetic correlations should not change sign when the two traits are tightly integrated by physiology or development. Patterns of change of genetic correlations are caused by differences in development and physiology, an understanding of which appears to be necessary to predict the response to selection in natural, heterogeneous environments.

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