Evolution via somatic genetic variation in modular species

Thorsten B.H. Reusch, Iliana B. Baums, Benjamin Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Somatic genetic variation (SoGV) may play a consequential yet underappreciated role in long-lived, modular species among plants, animals, and fungi. Recent genomic data identified two levels of genetic heterogeneity, between cell lines and between modules, that are subject to multilevel selection. Because SoGV can transfer into gametes when germlines are sequestered late in ontogeny (plants, algae, and fungi and some basal animals), sexual and asexual processes provide interdependent routes of mutational input and impact the accumulation of genetic load and molecular evolution rates of the integrated asexual/sexual life cycle. Avenues for future research include possible fitness effects of SoGV, the identification and implications of multilevel selection, and modeling of asexual selective sweeps using approaches from tumor evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1092
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution via somatic genetic variation in modular species'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this