Skip to main content

Data from: How does mutation affect the distribution of phenotypes?

Cite this dataset

McGuigan, Katrina; Aw, Ernest (2017). Data from: How does mutation affect the distribution of phenotypes? [Dataset]. Dryad.


The potential for mutational processes to influence patterns of neutral or adaptive phenotypic evolution is not well understood. If mutations are directionally biased, shifting trait means in a particular direction, or if mutation generates more variance in some directions of multivariate trait space than others, mutation itself might be a source of bias in phenotypic evolution. Here, we use mutagenesis to investigate the affect of mutation on trait mean and (co)variances in zebrafish, Danio rerio. Mutation altered the relationship between age and both prolonged swimming speed and body shape. These observations suggest that mutational effects on ontogeny or aging have the potential to generate variance across the phenome. Mutations had a far greater affect on males than females, although whether this is a reflection of sex-specific ontogeny or aging remains to be determined. In males, mutations generated positive covariance between swimming speed, size and body shape suggesting the potential for mutation to affect the evolutionary covariation of these traits. Overall, our observations suggest that mutation does not generate equal variance in all directions of phenotypic space or in each sex, and that pervasive variation in ontogeny or aging within a cohort could affect the variation available to evolution.

Usage notes