Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Origins of Evolutionary InnovationsA Theory of Transformative Change in Living Systems$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Andreas Wagner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199692590

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199692590.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Evolutionary constraints and genotype spaces

Evolutionary constraints and genotype spaces

(p.158) Chapter 12 Evolutionary constraints and genotype spaces
The Origins of Evolutionary Innovations

Andreas Wagner

Oxford University Press

An evolutionary constraint is a bias or limitation in genotypic or phenotypic variation that a biological system produces. Striking phenotypic examples include the absence of photosynthesis in higher animals, and the general lack of teeth in the lower jaw of frogs. Constraints can influence the spectrum of evolutionary adaptations and innovations that are accessible to living things. Based on the cause of constrained phenotypic variation, one can distinguish physicochemical, selective, genetic, and developmental constraints. The latter class of constraints emerges from the processes that produce phenotypes from genotypes. This chapter examines these four causes for molecules, regulatory circuits, and metabolic networks in the genotype space framework. This framework shows that processes of phenotype formation cause the three other classes of constraints. It can help us appreciate why causes of constrained variation are often entangled and not clearly separable. The chapter also shows that the kind of evolutionary stasis that occurs during punctuated and episodic evolution is a consequence of genetic constraints, whose origins the genotype space framework can readily explain.

Keywords:   photosynthesis, evolutionary constraint, constrained variation, selective constraint, genetic constraint, developmental constraint, genotype space

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .