Phenotypic plasticity in crepis tectorum (Asteraceae): Genetic correlations across light regimens

Stefan Andersson, Ruth G. Shaw

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Inbred F3 and F4 families from a cross between two contrasting ecotypes of Crépis tectorum were replicated in two regimes in a glasshouse to determine whether genetic tradeoffs within the reaction norm favour genetic differentiation over phenotypic plasticity in this species. There was no tradeoff in reproductive fitness (flower production) across light regimes but genetic cross-environment correlations approached unity for a wide range of characters subject to divergent selection across habitats, suggesting little genetic variation in plasticity and a limited opportunity for selection to favour broadly adapted genotypes capable of attaining the optimum phenotype in every environment. The presence of genotype-environment interaction without large changes in the ranking of genotypes over light regimes indicates a greater potential for evolutionary change in environmental sensitivity although developmental constraints may limit the range of phenotypes that can be expressed in a character. A selection analysis was conducted to determine how the average reaction norm would evolve in this system. Whereas the relationship between each trait and reproductive fitness was environment-specific, there was no change in the direction of selection between light regimes. Given the genetic correlation structure observed, one would expect some of the genetic response in one environment to carry over to the other environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-125
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
During the course of this study, S.A. was supported by the Swedish Natural Research Council (postdoctoral


  • Genotype-environment interaction
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Reaction norm
  • Tradeoffs


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