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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 862739, 8 pages
Review Article

Speciation, Phenotypic Variation and Plasticity: What Can Endocrine Disruptors Tell Us?

1Laboratorio de Ecofisiología Animal, Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Investigaciones Sobre Recursos Naturales, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, MI, Mexico
2Laboratorio de Biología de Sistemas, Departamento de Biología Celular y Fisiología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 04510 Ciudad de México, Mexico

Received 21 February 2013; Accepted 28 March 2013

Academic Editor: Ewa Gregoraszczuk

Copyright © 2013 Braulio Ayala-García et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Phenotype variability, phenotypic plasticity, and the inheritance of phenotypic traits constitute the fundamental ground of processes such as individuation, individual and species adaptation and ultimately speciation. Even though traditional evolutionary thinking relies on genetic mutations as the main source of intra- and interspecies phenotypic variability, recent studies suggest that the epigenetic modulation of gene transcription and translation, epigenetic memory, and epigenetic inheritance are by far the most frequent reliable sources of transgenerational variability among viable individuals within and across organismal species. Therefore, individuation and speciation should be considered as nonmutational epigenetic phenomena.