Why does the magnitude of genotype-by-environment interaction vary?

Julia B. Saltz, Alison M. Bell, Jonathan Flint, Richard Gomulkiewicz, Kimberly A. Hughes, Jason Keagy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Genotype-by-environment interaction (G × E), that is, genetic variation in phenotypic plasticity, is a central concept in ecology and evolutionary biology. G×E has wide-ranging implications for trait development and for understanding how organisms will respond to environmental change. Although G × E has been extensively documented, its presence and magnitude vary dramatically across populations and traits. Despite this, we still know little about why G × E is so evident in some traits and populations, but minimal or absent in others. To encourage synthetic research in this area, we review diverse hypotheses for the underlying biological causes of variation in G × E. We extract common themes from these hypotheses to develop a more synthetic understanding of variation in G × E and suggest some important next steps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6342-6353
Number of pages12
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • genetic variation
  • genotype-by-environment interaction
  • phenotypic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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