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Evolution in the light of fitness landscape theory

Fragata, Inês, Blanckaert, Alexandre, Dias Louro, Marco António, Liberles, David A., Bank, Claudia
Trends in ecology & evolution 2019 v.34 no.1 pp. 69-82
evolution, genotype, models, molecular biology, phenotype
By formalizing the relationship between genotype or phenotype and fitness, fitness landscapes harbor information on molecular and evolutionary constraints. The shape of the fitness landscape determines the potential for adaptation and speciation, as well as our ability to predict evolution. Consequently, fitness landscape theory has been invoked across the natural sciences and across multiple levels of biological organization. We review here the existing literature on fitness landscape theory by describing the main types of fitness landscape models, and highlight how these are increasingly integrated into an applicable statistical framework for the study of evolution. Specifically, we demonstrate how the interpretation of experimental studies with respect to fitness landscape models enables a direct link between evolution, molecular biology, and systems biology.