Revisiting the Role of Genetic Variation in Adaptation
|Revisiting the Role of Genetic Variation in Adaptation
|Year of Publication
|Agashe D, Sane M, Singhal S
Evolutionary biologists have thought about the role of genetic variation during adaptation for a very long time-before we understood the organization of the genetic code, the provenance of ge-netic variation, and how such variation influenced the phenotypes on which natural selection acts. Half a century after the discovery of the structure of DNA and the unraveling of the genetic code, we have a rich understanding of these problems and the means to both delve deeper and widen our perspective across organisms and natural pop-ulations. The 2022 Vice Presidential Symposium of the American So-ciety of Naturalists highlighted examples of recent insights into the role of genetic variation in adaptive processes, which are compiled in this special section. The work was conducted in different parts of the world, included theoretical and empirical studies with diverse or-ganisms, and addressed distinct aspects of how genetic variation influ-ences adaptation. In our introductory article to the special section, we discuss some important recent insights about the generation and maintenance of genetic variation, its impacts on phenotype and fit-ness, its fate in natural populations, and its role in driving adaptation. By placing the special section articles in the broader context of recent developments, we hope that this overview will also serve as a useful in-troduction to the field.