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Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst. 2014 Nov 1;45:179-201.

The Utility of Fisher's Geometric Model in Evolutionary Genetics.

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IAME, UMR 1137, INSERM, F-75018 Paris, France ; IAME, UMR 1137, Univ. Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, F-75018 Paris, France.


The accumulation of data on the genomic bases of adaptation has triggered renewed interest in theoretical models of adaptation. Among these models, Fisher Geometric Model (FGM) has received a lot of attention over the last two decades. FGM is based on a continuous multidimensional phenotypic landscape, but it is for the emerging properties of individual mutation effects that it is mostly used. Despite an apparent simplicity and a limited number of parameters, FGM integrates a full model of mutation and epistatic interactions that allows the study of both beneficial and deleterious mutations, and subsequently the fate of evolving populations. In this review, I present the different properties of FGM and the qualitative and quantitative support they have received from experimental evolution data. I later discuss how to estimate the different parameters of the model and outline some future directions to connect FGM and the molecular determinants of adaptation.


Fisher’s Geometric model; adaptive landscape; distribution of fitness effects; drift load; epistasis; phenotypic complexity; pleiotropy; robustness

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