Evolution of complex adaptations in molecular systems

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A central challenge in evolutionary biology concerns the mechanisms by which complex adaptations arise. Such adaptations depend on the fixation of multiple, highly specific mutations, where intermediate stages of evolution seemingly provide little or no benefit. It is generally assumed that the establishment of complex adaptations is very slow in nature, as evolution of such traits demands special population genetic or environmental circumstances. However, blueprints of complex adaptations in molecular systems are pervasive, indicating that they can readily evolve. We discuss the prospects and limitations of non-adaptive scenarios, which assume numerous neutral or deleterious steps in the evolution of complex adaptations. Next, we examine how complex adaptations can evolve by natural selection in a changing environment. Finally, we argue that molecular 'springboards' such as phenotypic heterogeneity and promiscuous interactions facilitate this process by providing access to new adaptive paths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1084-1092
Number of pages9
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume1
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017

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natural selection
population genetics
mutation
Biological Sciences
evolutionary biology
fixation
demand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Evolution of complex adaptations in molecular systems. / Pál, C.; Papp, B.

In: Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 1, No. 8, 01.08.2017, p. 1084-1092.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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