is the ability of an organism
to change its phenotype
in response to changes in the environment
. Such plasticity in some cases expresses as several highly morphologically distinct results; in other cases, a continuous norm of reaction
describes the functional interrelationship of a range of environments to a range of phenotypes. The term was originally conceived in the context of development
, but is now more broadly applied to include changes that occur during the adult life of an organism, such as behaviour.
Organisms may differ in the degree of phenotypic plasticity they display when exposed to the same environmental change. Hence, phenotypic plasticity can evolve and be adaptive if fitness is increased by changing phenotype.In general, sustained directional selection
is predicted to increase plasticity in that same direction.
Some responses will be similar in all organisms, for example in organisms that do not thermoregulate
, as temperatures change lipids
in the cell membrane
must be altered by creating more double bonds (when temperatures decrease) or removing them (when temperatures increase). Jane Larkindale and Bingru Huang Changes of lipid composition and saturation level in leaves and roots for heat-stressed and heat-acclimated creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera
) Environmental and Experimental Botany Volume 51, Issue 1, February 2004, Pages 57-67... Read More