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J Theor Biol. 1984 Sep 21;110(2):155-71.

Quantitative genetics and developmental constraints on evolution by selection.


It has often been argued that the principles of random mutation and selection are insufficient to account for macroevolutionary phenomena, such as the origin of morphological novelty and directionality in evolution. A third, epigenetic, principle is said to be required and this principle is thought not to be included in microevolutionary theory. The third principle has most recently been identified as internal selection and/or non-random phenotypic effects of mutation. It is shown that the genetic variance/covariance matrix of quantitative genetic theory measures developmental constraints due to internal selection and non-random mutation. The genetic variance/covariance matrix causes the response to selection to deviate from the optimal rate and direction as specified by the selection gradient, which measures direct selection on the phenotypes. Therefore, microevolutionary theory takes account of developmental constraints on evolution by natural selection through the genetic variance/covariance matrix. Theories for predicting the pattern of genetic variance and covariance from stabilizing selection and the phenotypic effects of mutation are discussed.

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