Genetic constraints predict evolutionary divergence in Dalechampia blossoms

Geir H. Bolstad, Thomas F. Hansen, Christophe Pelabon, Mohsen Falahati-Anbaran, Rocio Perez-Barrales, Scott Armbruster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Downloads (Pure)


If genetic constraints are important, then rates and direction of evolution should be related to trait evolvability. Here we use recently developed measures of evolvability to test the genetic constraint hypothesis with quantitative genetic data on floral morphology from the Neotropical vine Dalechampia scandens (Euphorbiaceae). These measures were compared against rates of evolution and patterns of divergence among 24 populations in two species in the D. scandens species complex. We found clear evidence for genetic constraints, particularly among traits that were tightly phenotypically integrated. This relationship between evolvability and evolutionary divergence is puzzling, because the estimated evolvabilities seem too large to constitute real constraints. We suggest that this paradox can be explained by a combination of weak stabilizing selection around moving adaptive optima and small realized evolvabilities relative to the observed additive genetic variance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20130255
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
Issue number1649
Early online date7 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2014


  • evolutionary rate
  • G-matrix
  • integration
  • macroevolution
  • power relationship


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic constraints predict evolutionary divergence in Dalechampia blossoms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this