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Int J Endocrinol. 2013;2013:862739. doi: 10.1155/2013/862739. Epub 2013 May 16.

Speciation, phenotypic variation and plasticity: what can endocrine disruptors tell us?

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Laboratorio de Ecofisiología Animal, Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Investigaciones Sobre Recursos Naturales, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, MI, Mexico ; Laboratorio de Biología de Sistemas, Departamento de Biología Celular y Fisiología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 Ciudad de México, Mexico.


Phenotype variability, phenotypic plasticity, and the inheritance of phenotypic traits constitute the fundamental ground of processes such as individuation, individual and species adaptation and ultimately speciation. Even though traditional evolutionary thinking relies on genetic mutations as the main source of intra- and interspecies phenotypic variability, recent studies suggest that the epigenetic modulation of gene transcription and translation, epigenetic memory, and epigenetic inheritance are by far the most frequent reliable sources of transgenerational variability among viable individuals within and across organismal species. Therefore, individuation and speciation should be considered as nonmutational epigenetic phenomena.

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