The contribution of pleiotropic mutation to genetic variation and evolution (2015–2017)
The potential for one gene to affect many traits, pleiotropy, has been recognised for over 100 years.
Pleiotropy is expected to underlie diverse biological phenomena, including evolution and age-related human
diseases. Despite this, the contribution of pleiotropy to variation among individuals in appearance and in
fitness remains poorly understood. This project will provide an in-depth characterization of pleiotropic effects
across many traits, including fitness, in an outbred population of the fly, Drosophila serrata. By measuring the
extent of pleiotropy and its fitness consequences, this project will advance understanding of how mutation
and selection shape genetic variation and evolutionary potential in natural populations.