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Genetic Accomodation

Synonyms: Accomodation, Genetic

Genetic accommodation is a concept of evolution introduced by Mary Jane West-Eberhard[1,2]. According to Braendle and Flatt[3], genetic accommodation is a generalization of the concept of genetic assimilation. Although I cannot uncritically follow their explanation, I agree as from fauceir perspective the scope of genetic accommodation includes one more fauceir. In that sense. genetic accommodation is one more step up the ladder towards Fauceir Theory.

General Confusion

Evolutionary Novelties & Latent Capacities

The Concept of genetic accommodation tries to explain evolutionary novelties by latent capacities. An evolutionary novelty is defined

a discrete phenotypic trait that is new in composition or context of expression relative to established ancestral traits.

Such an approach raises more questions than it answers. Which are in particular:

  1. Can we really call a trait a novelty if its capacity is latently present already?
  2. But most of all, how does the latent capacity evolve?

Many species bear the capacity to exhibit different phenotypes such as in metamorphosis and temperature dependent sex determination [4]. From these example we can learn that not the phenotype itself but the capacity do show it under appropriate circumstances is a target of evolution.

A this point I refuse to discuss the various hues of the theory. I understand so many authors offering so many modified definitions as an indicator that none of these concepts really meets our data sufficiently. That's time to introduce Fauceir Theory.


1. Mary Jane West-Eberhard, Developmental Plasticity and Evolution, 1. Aufl. (Oxford University Press, USA, 2003).
2. .
3. Christian Braendle und Thomas Flatt, „A role for genetic accommodation in evolution?“, BioEssays: News and Reviews in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology 28, Nr. 9 (September 2006): 868-873.
4. Neuwald, Jennifer L, und Nicole Valenzuela. „The lesser known challenge of climate change: thermal variance and sex-reversal in vertebrates with temperature-dependent sex determination“. PloS One 6, Nr. 3 (2011): e18117.


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