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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Evolvability Seminar - Why must some lineages be more evolvable than others?

10th March 2011, 16:15, Whitehead Room, School of Biological Sciences, Dr Sinead Collins (University of Edinburgh)

Many mechanisms that increase heritable variance in fitness have been proposed as "evolvability" traits. I will discuss three particular strategies: phenotypic plasticity, mutators, and the heritable epigenetic change, in the context of how they influence evolvability and why evolvability might (or might not) be a trait under selection.

I propose that it is not evolvability, but adaptability that is under selection, and suggest that the particular mechanism underlying adaptability should be predictable based on the type of environmental change that the evolving lineage finds itself in. Finally, I suggest that mechanisms underlying adaptability can be placed on a continuum to move towards a predictive theory of adaptation.

Contact a.r.hoelzel@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.