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SnowbirdIntegrative Biology and Evolutionary Diversity in the Junco$
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Ellen D. "Ketterson and Jonathan W. Atwell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226330778

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226330808.001.0001

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Hormonal Pleiotropy and the Evolution of Correlated Traits1

Hormonal Pleiotropy and the Evolution of Correlated Traits1

(p.100) Chapter Five Hormonal Pleiotropy and the Evolution of Correlated Traits1

Joel W. McGlothlin

Ellen D. Ketterson

University of Chicago Press

One of the fundamental properties of hormones is that they underlie the expression of suites of correlated traits. To the extent that this hormonal mediation has a genetic basis, hormones may act to either accelerate or slow adaptive evolution. Selection on one trait within a hormone-mediated suite may lead to evolutionary changes in other traits mediated by the same hormone, which may be either beneficial or detrimental. As such, mediation by a common hormone can be seen as the analog of genetic pleiotropy. In this chapter, we discuss how variation in endocrine pathways should affect the evolutionary process, and in turn, how natural selection should be expected to shape such pathways. We argue that in order to achieve a fuller understanding of the roles of hormones in evolution, we must study naturally occurring variation—which is the raw material for natural selection—in addition to performing experiments in phenotypic engineering. Studies of natural variation in hormones and hormone-mediated traits, such as the work in juncos described in chapters 6 and 7, may provide important insights about the extent to which hormonal pleiotropy reflects the results of adaptive evolution versus a constraint on future evolution.

Keywords:   hormones, testosterone, adaptation, constraint, correlational selection, phenotypic integration

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