Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture

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JHU Press, Jul 17, 2001 - Science - 328 pages
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For more than two decades the concept of phenotypic plasticity has allowed researchers to go beyond the nature-nurture dichotomy to gain deeper insights into how organisms are shaped by the interaction of genetic and ecological factors. Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture is the first work to synthesize the burgeoning area of plasticity studies, providing a conceptual overview as well as a technical treatment of its major components.

Phenotypic plasticity integrates the insights of ecological genetics, developmental biology, and evolutionary theory. Plasticity research asks foundational questions about how living organisms are capable of variation in their genetic makeup and in their responses to environmental factors. For instance, how do novel adaptive phenotypes originate? How do organisms detect and respond to stressful environments? What is the balance between genetic or natural constraints (such as gravity) and natural selection? The author begins by defining phenotypic plasticity and detailing its history, including important experiments and methods of statistical and graphical analysis. He then provides extended examples of the molecular basis of plasticity, the plasticity of development, the ecology of plastic responses, and the role of costs and constraints in the evolution of plasticity. A brief epilogue looks at how plasticity studies shed light on the nature/nurture debate in the popular media.

Phenotypic Plasticity: Beyond Nature and Nurture thoroughly reviews more than two decades of research, and thus will be of interest to both students and professionals in evolutionary biology, ecology, and genetics.

 

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Contents

What Is Phenotypic Plasticity?
1
Studying and Understanding Plasticity
29
A Brief Conceptual History of Phenotypic Plasticity
47
The Genetics of Phenotypic Plasticity
67
The Molecular Biology of Phenotypic Plasticity
109
The Developmental Biology of Phenotypic Plasticity
133
The Ecology of Phenotypic Plasticity
156
Behavior and Phenotypic Plasticity
182
The Theoretical Biology of Phenotypic Plasticity
216
Phenotypic Plasticity as a Central Concept in Evolutionary Biology
237
Beyond Nature and Nurture
253
Notes
263
References
267
Author Index
305
Subject Index
315
Copyright

Evolution of and by Phenotypic Plasticity
197

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About the author (2001)

Massimo Pigliucci is an associate professor in the Departments of Botany and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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