A plasticity-mediated evolutionary path towards a new adaptive phenotype. Each circle represents a genotype. Lines represent mutations that convert one genotype into another. Different colors represent distinct phenotypes. The same background color surrounds genotypes in the same genotype network. Colored areas within circles represent the probability that a genotype produces a particular phenotype. Blue represents an original native phenotype, and red a new beneficial phenotype. We show a sequence of mutations towards the red genotype network. First, the red phenotype arises as a low penetrance alternative phenotype (mutation a). As penetrance increases, the distance to the new genotype network decreases (b). Finally, the new phenotype has become stabilized, that is, a new genotype network has been 'discovered' (c).
Espinosa-Soto et al. BMC Evolutionary Biology 2011 11:5 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-5