Porque a construção de nicho de desenvolvimento não é construção de nicho seletivo e porque isso importa

sábado, agosto 26, 2017

Why developmental niche construction is not selective niche construction: and why it matters

Karola Stotz

Published 18 August 2017.DOI: 10.1098/rsfs.2016.0157

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In the last decade, niche construction has been heralded as the neglected process in evolution. But niche construction is just one way in which the organism's interaction with and construction of the environment can have potential evolutionary significance. The constructed environment does not just select for, it also produces new variation. Nearly 3 decades ago, and in parallel with Odling-Smee's article ‘Niche-constructing phenotypes', West and King introduced the ‘ontogenetic niche’ to give the phenomena of exogenetic inheritance a formal name. Since then, a range of fields in the life sciences and medicine has amassed evidence that parents influence their offspring by means other than DNA (parental effects), and proposed mechanisms for how heritable variation can be environmentally induced and developmentally regulated. The concept of ‘developmental niche construction’ (DNC) elucidates how a diverse range of mechanisms contributes to the transgenerational transfer of developmental resources. My most central of claims is that whereas the selective niche of niche construction theory is primarily used to explain the active role of the organism in its selective environment, DNC is meant to indicate the active role of the organism in its developmental environment. The paper highlights the differences between the construction of the selective and the developmental niche, and explores the overall significance of DNC for evolutionary theory.

Competing interests

I declare I have no competing interests.


This publication was made possible through the support of a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Causal Foundations of Biological Information TWCF0063/AB37.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Templeton World Charity Foundation.


I also want to express gratitude to the helpful comments provided by two reviewers.

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