1) Theory and mathematically modelling
Develop theory and mathematic modelling of the genotype-phenotype relation.
Although we have a well-developed mathematical theory on how genetic variation is converted into evolutionary change on a microevolutionary time scale, we only have fragments of a quantitative theory of evolutionary change and constraints on macroevolutionary time scales. To move towards such a theory it is essential to understand how the genotype-phenotype relationship itself can evolve. This will be addressed both in terms of mathematical modelling of the evolution of the genotype-phenotype relation, and also in terms of developing operational representations of the genotype-phenotype relationship that facilitate the empirical studies. The evolution of the genotype-phenotype relation is one of the defining problems in evodevo research. We will formulate this and other evodevo problems in the mathematical language of theoretical populations genetics and particularly in the language of quantitative genetics, which may be defined as the population genetics of phenotypes and serve as a connection to empirically accessible phenotypic variation. We will use what Stig Omholt has termed causally cohesive modelling of the genotype-phenotype map. Here lower-level physiological parameters are given an articulated and ideally empirically based connection to the genotype, and higher-level phenotypes are emerging from a mathematical model of the physiology. Many detailed physiological models are available and await studies of this type, and this is a rich area for crosstalk between the empirically accessible and the theoretically relevant.