The evolution of phenotypic switching in subdivided populations

Oana Carja, Uri Liberman, Marcus W. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stochastic switching is an example of phenotypic bet hedging, where offspring can express a phenotype different from that of their parents. Phenotypic switching is well documented in viruses, yeast, and bacteria and has been extensively studied when the selection pressures vary through time. However, there has been little work on the evolution of phenotypic switching under both spatially and temporally fluctuating selection pressures. Here we use a population genetic model to explore the interaction of temporal and spatial variation in determining the evolutionary dynamics of phenotypic switching. We find that the stable switching rate is mainly determined by the rate of environmental change and the migration rate. This stable rate is also a decreasing function of the recombination rate, although this is a weaker effect than those of either the period of environmental change or the migration rate. This study highlights the interplay of spatial and temporal environmental variability, offering new insights into how migration can influence the evolution of phenotypic switching rates, mutation rates, or other sources of phenotypic variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1197
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'The evolution of phenotypic switching in subdivided populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this