Stress is a major factor in evolution, but for stress-inducedmodifications to have evolutionary importance they have to be inheritedand persist in a sufficient number of individuals within a population.This requires an organism to survive stress and reproduce at leastonce; thus stress-induced variation has to be accommodated by anorganism without much reduction in its functionality. How is suchaccommodation accomplished?
In an article in the September issue of The American Naturalist,Alexander V. Badyaev (University of Arizona) and colleagues show thatcomplexity and cohesiveness of foraging structures of shrews enablesaccommodation of stress-induced developmental abnormalities inindividual components of morphological complexes. Such developmentalcompensation and accommodation not only allow shrews growing understressful environments to maintain locally adaptive foragingmorphology, but also provide a mechanism for stress-inducedevolutionary change.
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Alexander V. Badyaev (University of Arizona), Kerry R. Foresman(University of Montana), and Rebecca L. Young (University of Arizona),"Evolution of morphological integration: Developmental accommodation ofstress-induced variation" 166:3 September 2005.
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