nature_wonder (nature_wonder) wrote,


concept of the “extended phenotype”: ecosystem genetics

Upon this concept we propose three hypotheses:
1) Biodiversity is an emergent property of extended phenotypes.
2) Community structure, biodiversity and ecosystem processes are heritable.
3) Ecological feedback loops result in genetic covariance and community evolution.


Nature Reviews Genetics, July 2006
A framework for community and ecosystem genetics: from genes to ecosystems

Can heritable traits in a single species affect an entire ecosystem? Recent studies show that such traits in a common tree have predictable effects on community structure and ecosystem processes. Because these 'community and ecosystem phenotypes' have a genetic basis and are heritable, we can begin to apply the principles of population and quantitative genetics to place the study of complex communities and ecosystems within an evolutionary framework. This framework could allow us to understand, for the first time, the genetic basis of ecosystem processes, and the effect of such phenomena as climate change and introduced transgenic organisms on entire communities.
Tags: biology, complex systems, genetics
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