Frank, S. A. 2003. Genetic variation of polygenic characters and the evolution of genetic degeneracy. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 16:138-142.

The classical model of mutation-selection balance for quantitative characters sums the effects of individual sites to determine overall character value. I develop an alternative version of this classical model in which character value depends on the averaging of the effects of the individual sites. In this new averaging model, the equilibrium patterns of variance in allelic effects and character values change with the number of sites that affect a character in a different way from the classical model of summing effects. Besides changing the patterns of variance, the averaging model favours the addition of loci to the control of character values, perhaps explaining in part the recent observation of widespread genetic degeneracy.


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