Epistasis and its consequences for the evolution of natural populations

Trends Ecol Evol. 1997 Jul;12(7):282-6. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5347(97)81027-0.


Throughout the neodarwinian synthesis, theorists have debated the role of gene interactions, or epistasis, in the evolutionary process. Unfortunately, empirical measurement of the role of epistasis in the evolution of natural populations has, until now, been difficult. Two developments in empirical approaches have occurred: (1) application of theory to the evolution of natural populations, and (2) the concurrent development of molecular marker-assisted techniques to understand the architecture of quantitative genetic variation. Thus, exciting developments in both theory and empirical data collection provide the stimulus for documenting the role of epistasis in the evolutionary process.