Although modular construction is considered the key to adaptive growth or growth-form plasticity in sessile taxa (e.g., plants, seaweeds and colonial invertebrates), the serial expression of genes in morphogenesis may compromise its evolutionary potential if growth forms emerge as integrated wholes from module iteration. To explore the evolvability of growth form in the red seaweed, Asparagopsis armata, we estimated genetic variances, covariances, and cross-environment correlations for principal components of growth-form variation in contrasting light environments. We compared variance—covariance matrices across environments to test environmental effects on heritable variation and examined the potential for evolutionary change in the direction of plastic responses to light. Our results suggest that growth form in Asparagopsis may constitute only a single genetic entity whose plasticity affords only limited evolutionary potential. We argue that morphological integration arising from modular construction may constrain the evolvability of growth form in Asparagopsis, emphasizing the critical distinction between genetic and morphological modularity in this and other modular taxa.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 63 • No. 12