Document Detail

Character displacement and the origins of diversity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21043778     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In The Origin of Species, Darwin proposed his principle of divergence of character (a process now termed "character displacement") to explain how new species arise and why they differ from each other phenotypically. Darwin maintained that the origin of species and the evolution of differences between them is ultimately caused by divergent selection acting to minimize competitive interactions between initially similar individuals, populations, and species. Here, we examine the empirical support for the various claims that constitute Darwin's principle, specifically that (1) competition promotes divergent trait evolution, (2) the strength of competitively mediated divergent selection increases with increasing phenotypic similarity between competitors, (3) divergence can occur within species, and (4) competitively mediated divergence can trigger speciation. We also explore aspects that Darwin failed to consider. In particular, we describe how (1) divergence can arise from selection acting to lessen reproductive interactions, (2) divergence is fueled by the intersection of character displacement and sexual selection, and (3) phenotypic plasticity may play a key role in promoting character displacement. Generally, character displacement is well supported empirically, and it remains a vital explanation for how new species arise and diversify.
David W Pfennig; Karin S Pfennig
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American naturalist     Volume:  176 Suppl 1     ISSN:  1537-5323     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. Nat.     Publication Date:  2010 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-11-03     Completed Date:  2011-02-22     Revised Date:  2013-07-03    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2984688R     Medline TA:  Am Nat     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  S26-44     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
Biological Evolution*
Biology / history
Genetic Speciation*
History, 19th Century
History, 20th Century
History, 21st Century
Selection, Genetic
Time Factors
Grant Support
DP2 OD004436-01/OD/NIH HHS

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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