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Levels of genetic polymorphism: marker loci versus quantitative traits

Butlin, R.K. and Tregenza, T. (1998) Levels of genetic polymorphism: marker loci versus quantitative traits. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 353 (1366). pp. 187-198. ISSN 1471-2970

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Species are the units used to measure ecological diversity and alleles are the units of genetic diversity. Genetic variation within and among species has been documented most extensively using allozyme electrophoresis. This reveals wide differences in genetic variability within, and genetic distances among, species, demonstrating that species are not equivalent units of diversity. The extent to which the pattern observed for allozymes can be used to infer patterns of genetic variation in quantitative traits depends on the forces generating and maintaining variability. Allozyme variation is probably not strictly neutral but, nevertheless, heterozygosity is expected to be influenced by population size and genetic distance will be affected by time since divergence. The same is true for quantitative traits influenced by many genes and under weak stabilizing selection. However, the limited data available suggest that allozyme variability is a poor predictor of genetic variation in quantitative traits within populations. It is a better predictor of general phenotypic divergence and of postzygotic isolation between populations or species, but is only weakly correlated with prezygotic isolation. Studies of grasshopper and planthopper mating signal variation and assortative mating illustrate how these characters evolve independently of general genetic and morphological variation. The role of such traits in prezygotic isolation, and hence speciation, means that they will contribute significantly to the diversity of levels of genetic variation within and among species.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 1998 The Royal Society
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Biological Sciences (Leeds) > Institute of Integrative and Comparative Biology (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2006
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2014 17:21
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1098/rstb.1998.0201
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/93

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