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  • Phylogenetic relationships of the Brassicaceae taxa included in this study.
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    Pollinators and corolla shape robustness in Brassicaceae

    How pollinators may influence the integration and developmental robustness of angiosperm flowers is still unknown. Using geometric morphometrics, Gómez et al. studied the evolution of the phenotypic variation, disparity and integration of the corolla in 111 Brassicaceae, and explored the role of pollinators in mediating its evolution. Floral integration and robustness were evolutionary labile and […] More

  • Changing environments induce phenotype-specific responses. Phenotypic responses to changing environments range from plastic to robust. Environmental changes that occur predictably lead to programmed responses. Shown here is the transition between vegetative and reproductive growth induced by seasonal exposures to low and then high temperatures.
    in

    Molecular mechanisms of noise and robustness

    Robustness, the inverse of noise, is a molecularly programmed feature of biological systems. The molecular networks of some organismal phenotypes like development are designed to maximize robustness, while other phenotypes like disease resistance have their pathways structured to allow for decreased robustness/increased noise to counteract evolution in the attacking organism. Lachowiec et al. describe the […] More

  • A diagram illustrating the distinction between genetic accommodation and genetic assimilation. Genetic accommodation is any adaptive genetic change in the environmental regulation of a phenotype.
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    Genetic assimilation and the evolution of novelty

    Most, if not all, organisms possess the ability to alter their phenotype in direct response to changes in their environment, a phenomenon known as phenotypic plasticity. Selection can break this environmental sensitivity, however, and cause a formerly environmentally induced trait to evolve to become fixed through a process called genetic assimilation. Characterizing the proximate mechanisms […] More

  • Robert Plant
    in

    The developmental genetics of biological robustness

    Biological systems face constant perturbations, yet often manage to produce invariable developmental phenotypes. Developmental robustness is a property observed across phyla and recent work in yeast, animals and plants has just started revealing its genetic basis. Mestek Boukhibar and Barkoulas highlight aspects related to the definition of developmental robustness and discuss some underlying mechanisms. They […] More