Adaptive Evolution of Multiple Traits Through Multiple Mutations at a Single Gene

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Science  15 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6125, pp. 1312-1316
DOI: 10.1126/science.1233213

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Although specific genes involved in animal coloration have been identified, the underlying selection for genetic variation in color-specific adaptation is not well understood. Examining the Agouti gene and other loci in the deer mice of Nebraska, where predation selects for light-colored mice in light environments and dark-colored mice in dark environments, Linnen et al. (p. 1312) find evidence of multiple genetic variants under selection affecting coloration. The light color of Sand Hills mice is not the result of a single large-effect mutation, but is because of many accumulated mutations, each with a smaller phenotypic effect.