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Research Funding:

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant no. R01EY016400 and by Emory University.


  • phenotypic adaptation
  • molecular adaptation
  • visual pigments
  • ancestral phenotypes
  • quantum chemistry

Synthesis of Experimental Molecular Biology and Evolutionary Biology: An Example from the World of Vision


Journal Title:



Volume 62, Number 11


, Pages 939-948

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Natural selection has played an important role in establishing various phenotypes, but the molecular mechanisms of phenotypic adaptation are not well understood. The slow progress is a consequence of mutagenesis experiments in which present-day molecules were used and of the limited scope of statistical methods used to detect adaptive evolution. To fully appreciate phenotypic adaptation, the precise roles of adaptive mutations during phenotypic evolution must be elucidated through the engineering and manipulation of ancestral phenotypes. Experimental and quantum chemical analyses of dim-light vision reveal some surprising results and provide a foundation for a productive study of the adaptive evolution of various phenotypes.

Copyright information:

© 2012 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.

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