Selection-driven trait loss in independently evolved cavefish populations. Academic Article uri icon


  • Laboratory studies have demonstrated that a single phenotype can be produced by many different genotypes; however, in natural systems, it is frequently found that phenotypic convergence is due to parallel genetic changes. This suggests a substantial role for constraint and determinism in evolution and indicates that certain mutations are more likely to contribute to phenotypic evolution. Here we use whole genome resequencing in the Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus, to investigate how selection has shaped the repeated evolution of both trait loss and enhancement across independent cavefish lineages. We show that selection on standing genetic variation and de novo mutations both contribute substantially to repeated adaptation. Our findings provide empirical support for the hypothesis that genes with larger mutational targets are more likely to be the substrate of repeated evolution and indicate that features of the cave environment may impact the rate at which mutations occur.

published proceedings

  • Nat Commun

altmetric score

  • 14.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Moran, R. L., Richards, E. J., Ornelas-Garca, C. P., Gross, J. B., Donny, A., Wiese, J., ... McGaugh, S. E.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Moran, Rachel L||Richards, Emilie J||Ornelas-GarcĂ­a, Claudia Patricia||Gross, Joshua B||Donny, Alexandra||Wiese, Jonathan||Keene, Alex C||Kowalko, Johanna E||Rohner, Nicolas||McGaugh, Suzanne E

publication date

  • May 2023