Result of Your Query

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Z

phenotypic plasticityphänotypische Plastizität (ger.)

  • The ability of an organism to adapt to changes in its environment by modifying its own development, form, behaviour, or other trait. Hence it depends on the capacity for a given genotype to respond to environmental factors and to adjust the phenotype accordingly. Plasticity is of great selective advantage in an unstable or unpredictable environment and can itself be inherited and evolve. Plants typically have marked phenotypic plasticity, showing considerable variation in, among other characters, mature height, seed number, and seed mass with different growing conditions. Social insects (such as bees) with the same genotype undergo different developmental pathways to become members of different castes, depending on diet and incubation temperature. Modification of an animal's behaviour through learning is another instance of the great importance of phenotypic plasticity. (Oxford Dict. of Biology 2008)

    Phenotypic plasticity is shown by most fungi, and is not only evident in those general characters which together constitute the morphological facies of the organism, but in those critical structures, the reproductive bodies, whose constancy has so often been assumed.

    Brierley, W.B. (1921). On a form of Botrytis cinerea, with colourless scerotia. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 210, 83-114: 92.


    Lukin points out that the history of the species and its biology determine which one of these two methods of adaptation is more efficient. Genotypic specialization is preferable to phenotypic plasticity where an early appearance of an adaptive character in the ontogeny is desirable.

    Dobzhansky, T. (1944). [Rev. E.I. Lukin, Darwinism and Geographic Regularities in Variation of Organisms]. Science 99, 127-128: 128.


    phenotypic plasticity The capacity for marked variation in the phenotype as a result of environmental influences on the genotype during development.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 188.