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Variance-Induced Peak Shifts

Michael C. Whitlock
Evolution
Vol. 49, No. 2 (Apr., 1995), pp. 252-259
DOI: 10.2307/2410335
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410335
Page Count: 8
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Variance-Induced Peak Shifts
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Abstract

The increase in phenotypic variance that occurs in some populations as a result of bottlenecks and founder events can cause a dramatic increase in the probability of a peak shift from one adaptive state to another. Periods of small population size allow drift in the amount of phenotypic variance. Increases in phenotypic variance, coupled with a constant individual fitness function with multiple peaks, can cause the mean fitness landscape to change from bimodal to unimodal, thereby allowing the population's mean phenotype to change deterministically by selection. As the amount of phenotypic variance is returned to an equilibrium state, the multiple peaks reemerge, but the population has moved from one stable state to another. These variance-induced peak shifts allow punctuational evolution from one peak to another at a rate that can be much higher than that predicted by Wright's shifting-balance process alone.

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