The repeatibility of Evolution highlights constraints on change, revealing degrees of predictability rather than strict contingency. Here we propose an integrative, community-oriented research effort covering most aspects of convergence at the genetic level. We are beginning to know a lot about how mutations and genes drive phenotypic variation and evolutionary change, but the swarm of data and a lack of synthesis effort have led some recent authors to a somewhat premature pessimism. We are filling this gap by compiling known Loci of Evolution from the literature and detecting cases of repetition we dubbed Hotspot genes. Outstandingly, our preliminary screen reveals that no less than 100 Hotspot genes have repeatedly driven variation in certain phenotypic traits (Martin and Orgogozo 2013). Here we propose to extend, maintain and disseminate the catalog of Loci of Evolution, and use it as a heuristic template for a comprehensive study of Genetic Evolution, and of Genetic convergence in particular. Our original approach aims at generating a community resource for geneticists under the form of a DATABASE (Aim 1) of known genes and mutations that were linked to phenotypic variation. We will organize a WORKSHOP (Aim 2) and initiate a broad and COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH EFFORT (Aim 3) focusing on meta-analytical treatments of the database. To better pave the way to a fruitful reflection on genetic convergence itself, we will write an article on the epistemological consequences of Hotspots and an other essay on phenotypic organization (Year 1, see Proj. Descr. Aim 3). We believe this project will have a transformative impact in the field of Evolutionary Genetics. The database is notably necessary for an extensive study of the genetic paths of least resistance that underlie phenotypic change across Eukaryotes, what may shed new lights on evolution by unraveling structure in its most proximate causes.
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