About

Evolutionary quantitative genetics has blossomed over the last 30 years, but it’s relevance to many problems is still unappreciated by most evolutionary biologists. For example, despite astounding discoveries in the evolution of development (evodevo), that field remains a conceptual orphan. Likewise, progress in paleontology has been largely independent of the rest of evolutionary biology. Part of the reason for these and other disconnects is that conceptual advances in evolutionary quantitative genetics have not been synthesized and made accessible. Students and researchers seeking an introduction are forced into the primary literature where they confront formidable technical hurdles (matrix algebra, advanced multivariate statistics, stochastic processes). In the absence of a comprehensive, accessible overview, investigators may not have an overview of the foresteven though they are familiar with particular trees. For all these reasons, phenotypic evolution urgently needs a synthesis. Phenotypic Evolution, a Synthesis will summarize and synthesize the diverse empirical literature on phenotypic evolution and integrate those findings using the conceptual framework provided by quantitative genetics. The literatures to be summarized deal with quantitative inheritance (including QTL studies), mutation accumulation experiments, phenotypic integration, measurements of selection (including Fst/Qst studies), responses to deliberate selection (laboratory, barnyard and greenhouse), trait evolution on phylogenies (comparative studies), and – finally – trait evolution in the fossil record and on phylogenies in deep evolutionary time. I use evolutionary quantitative genetics as a conceptual framework to integrate all of these results, but I do not attempt a comprehensive treatment of theory in this field. Instead, I introduce and use the additive version of this theory, pioneered especially by Russell Lande, which is based on assumptions of prevalent polygeny, pervasive pleiotropy, Gaussian distribution of mutational effects at individual loci, additive inheritance, weak selection, and persistent configuration of adaptive landscapes. This additive version has the advantage that its implications have been explored all the way from the mutation process to macroevolutionary patterns.The aim of this website is to use animations to make theory accessible. Based on static figures in thebook, these animations illustrate predictions as a function of time and parameter combinations. The goal is to build intuition by vividly illustrating the numerical consequences of the theory. In that spirit, the computer simulations portrayed in the animations are based on theoretical results even though the underlying equations on not presented here. The menu of animations is topically organized by book chapter. A consistent color scheme is used in the book and animations so that connections between topics is apparent.