An evolutionary process that assembles phenotypes through space rather than through time

Shine, Richard, Brown, Gregory P., and Phillips, Benjamin L. (2011) An evolutionary process that assembles phenotypes through space rather than through time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (14). pp. 5708-5711.

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Abstract

In classical evolutionary theory, traits evolve because they facilitate organismal survival and/or reproduction. We discuss a different type of evolutionary mechanism that relies upon differential dispersal. Traits that enhance rates of dispersal inevitably accumulate at expanding range edges, and assortative mating between fast-dispersing individuals at the invasion front results in an evolutionary increase in dispersal rates in successive generations. This cumulative process (which we dub "spatial sorting") generates novel phenotypes that are adept at rapid dispersal, irrespective of how the underlying genes affect an organism's survival or its reproductive success. Although the concept is not original with us, its revolutionary implications for evolutionary theory have been overlooked. A range of biological phenomena (e.g., acceleration of invasion fronts, insular flightlessness, preadaptation) may have evolved via spatial sorting as well as (or rather than) by natural selection, and this evolutionary mechanism warrants further study.

Item ID: 18587
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: colonization; evolution; spatial disequilibrium; nonadaptive evolution
ISSN: 1091-6490
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2011 06:22
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060399 Evolutionary Biology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 47
Downloads: Total: 2
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