On the evolution of epistasis I: Diploids under selection

Uri Liberman, Marcus W. Feldman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One interpretation of recent literature on the evolution of phenotypic modularity is that evolution should act to decrease the degree of interaction between genes that contribute to different phenotypes. This issue is addressed directly here using a fitness scheme determined by two genetic loci and a third locus which modifies a measure of statistical interaction between the fitnesses due to the first two. The equilibrium structure of such an epistasis-modifying locus is studied. It is shown that under well-specified conditions a modifying allele that increases epistasis succeeds. In other words, genetic interactions tend to become stronger. It is speculated that this occurs because the mean fitness in such models is locally increasing as a function of the degree of epistasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-160
Number of pages20
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of Health
National Institute of General Medical SciencesR01GM028016


    • Evolvability
    • Genetic Interactions
    • Linkage and selection
    • Modifier genes
    • Modularity


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