The adaptive significance of maternal effects

Timothy A. Mousseau, Charles W. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1556 Scopus citations


Recently, the adaptive significance of maternal effects has been increasingly recognized. No longer are maternal effects relegated as simple 'troublesome sources of environmental resemblance' that confound our ability to estimate accurately the genetic basis of traits of interest. Rather, it has become evident that many maternal effects have been shaped by the action of natural selection to act as a mechanism for adaptive phenotypic response to environmental heterogeneity. Consequently, maternal experience is translated into variation in offspring fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-407
Number of pages5
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Allen Moore, Trevor Price and Heather Preston for valuable discussions concerning the adaptive nature of maternal effects. We also thank the US National Science Foundation and Oxford University Press for promoting this project.

Copyright 2004 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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