- maternal effects,
- National Evolutionary Synthesis Center,
- phenotypic plasticity
To explore the potential evolutionary relevance of heritable epigenetic variation, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center recently hosted a catalysis meeting that brought together molecular epigeneticists, experimental evolutionary ecologists, and theoretical population and quantitative geneticists working across a wide variety of systems. The group discussed the methods available to investigate epigenetic variation and epigenetic inheritance, and how to evaluate their importance for phenotypic evolution. We found that understanding tire relevance of epigenetic effects in phenotypic evolution will require clearly delineating epigenetics within existing terminology and expanding research efforts into ecologically relevant circumstances across model and nonmodel organisms. In addition, a critical component of understanding epigenetics will be the development of new and current statistical approaches and expansion of quantitative and population genetic theory Although the importance of heritable epigenetic effects on evolution is still under discussion, investigating them in the context of a multidisciplinary approach could transform the field.
Published as "What Role Does Heritable Epigenetic Variation Play in Phenotypic Evolution?," Bioscience, Vol. 60, No. 3 (March 2010), p. 232-237 © 2010 the Regents of the University of California/American Institute of Biological Science.
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