The molecular population genetics of regulatory genes

Mol Ecol. 2000 Oct;9(10):1451-61. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-294x.2000.01016.x.


Regulatory loci, which may encode both trans acting proteins as well as cis acting promoter regions, are crucial components of an organism's genetic architecture. Although evolution of these regulatory loci is believed to underlie the evolution of numerous adaptive traits, there is little information on natural variation of these genes. Recent molecular population genetic studies, however, have provided insights into the extent of natural variation at regulatory genes, the evolutionary forces that shape them and the phenotypic effects of molecular regulatory variants. These recent analyses suggest that it may be possible to study the molecular evolutionary ecology of regulatory diversification by examining both the extent and patterning of regulatory gene diversity, the phenotypic effects of molecular variation at these loci and their ecological consequences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Plants / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Selection, Genetic