On the pleiotropic structure of the genotype-phenotype map and the evolvability of complex organisms

William G. Hill, Xu Sheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Analyses of effects of mutants on many traits have enabled estimates to be obtained of the magnitude of pleiotropy, and in reviews of such data others have concluded that the degree of pleiotropy is highly restricted, with implications on the evolvability of complex organisms. We show that these conclusions are highly dependent on statistical assumptions, for example significance levels. We analyze models with pleiotropic effects on all traits at all loci but by variable amounts, considering distributions of numbers of traits declared significant, overall pleiotropic effects, and extent of apparent modularity of effects. We demonstrate that these highly pleiotropic models can give results similar to those obtained in analyses of experimental data and that conclusions on limits to evolvability through pleiotropy are not robust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1137
Number of pages7
JournalGenetics
Volume190
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

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