Behaviour 2019
Broadening the genotype-to-phenotype arrow: a toolbox of ways we conceptualize plasticity and development
Emilie Snell-Rood1, Sean Ehlman1,2. 1University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN, United States; 2Humboldt University, Berlin, , Germany

For decades, there have been repeated calls for integration between fields taking more ultimate approaches (e.g. ecology and evolution) and those taking more proximate approaches (e.g., developmental and molecular biology). However, the structure of textbooks and critiques in the literature suggest this integration remains incomplete. We suggest that the solution is to consider when and how to broaden the "arrow" that links genotype to phenotype in questions about biological processes: sometimes we may need more complex features of development and plasticity, but not always. For instance, for some evolutionary questions, the underlying processes change when components of development are integrated into theoretical models. We present a framework of quantitative conceptualizations of developmental features for biological theory. Ideas about behavioral plasticity map onto this framework in several places. Cataloging dozens of existing conceptualizations lays the groundwork for new directions in macroevolutionary theory and clarifying continued confusion around the nature-nurture debate.