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  • 1. Marjanovic, Jovana
    et al.
    Mulder, Han A
    Rönnegård, Lars
    Dalarna University, School of Technology and Business Studies, Statistics. SLU.
    Bijma, Piter
    Modelling the co-evolution of indirect genetic effects and inherited variability2018In: Heredity, ISSN 0018-067X, E-ISSN 1365-2540, Vol. 121, p. 631-647Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    When individuals interact, their phenotypes may be affected not only by their own genes but also by genes in their social partners. This phenomenon is known as Indirect Genetic Effects (IGEs). In aquaculture species and some plants, however, competition not only affects trait levels of individuals, but also inflates variability of trait values among individuals. In the field of quantitative genetics, the variability of trait values has been studied as a quantitative trait in itself, and is often referred to as inherited variability. Such studies, however, consider only the genetic effect of the focal individual on trait variability and do not make a connection to competition. Although the observed phenotypic relationship between competition and variability suggests an underlying genetic relationship, the current quantitative genetic models of IGE and inherited variability do not allow for such a relationship. The lack of quantitative genetic models that connect IGEs to inherited variability limits our understanding of the potential of variability to respond to selection, both in nature and agriculture. Models of trait levels, for example, show that IGEs may considerably change heritable variation in trait values. Currently, we lack the tools to investigate whether this result extends to variability of trait values. Here we present a model that integrates IGEs and inherited variability. In this model, the target phenotype, say growth rate, is a function of the genetic and environmental effects of the focal individual and of the difference in trait value between the social partner and the focal individual, multiplied by a regression coefficient. The regression coefficient is a genetic trait, which is a measure of cooperation; a negative value indicates competition, a positive value cooperation, and an increasing value due to selection indicates the evolution of cooperation. In contrast to the existing quantitative genetic models, our model allows for co-evolution of IGEs and variability, as the regression coefficient can respond to selection. Our simulations show that the model results in increased variability of body weight with increasing competition. When competition decreases, i.e., cooperation evolves, variability becomes significantly smaller. Hence, our model facilitates quantitative genetic studies on the relationship between IGEs and inherited variability. Moreover, our findings suggest that we may have been overlooking an entire level of genetic variation in variability, the one due to IGEs.

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  • 2. Silva, C. N. S
    et al.
    McFarlane, S. E
    Hagen, I. J
    Rönnegård, Lars
    Dalarna University, School of Technology and Business Studies, Statistics. Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.
    Billing, A. M
    Kvalnes, T
    Kemppainen, P
    Rønning, B
    Ringsby, T. H
    Husby, A
    Insights into the genetic architecture of morphological traits in two passerine bird species2017In: Heredity, ISSN 0018-067X, E-ISSN 1365-2540, Vol. 119, no 3, p. 197-205Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Knowledge about the underlying genetic architecture of phenotypic traits is needed to understand and predict evolutionary dynamics. The number of causal loci, magnitude of the effects and location in the genome are, however, still largely unknown. Here, we use genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data from two large-scale data sets on house sparrows and collared flycatchers to examine the genetic architecture of different morphological traits (tarsus length, wing length, body mass, bill depth, bill length, total and visible badge size and white wing patches). Genomic heritabilities were estimated using relatedness calculated from SNPs. The proportion of variance captured by the SNPs (SNP-based heritability) was lower in house sparrows compared with collared flycatchers, as expected given marker density (6348 SNPs in house sparrows versus 38 689 SNPs in collared flycatchers). Indeed, after downsampling to similar SNP density and sample size, this estimate was no longer markedly different between species. Chromosome-partitioning analyses demonstrated that the proportion of variance explained by each chromosome was significantly positively related to the chromosome size for some traits and, generally, that larger chromosomes tended to explain proportionally more variation than smaller chromosomes. Finally, we found two genome-wide significant associations with very small-effect sizes. One SNP on chromosome 20 was associated with bill length in house sparrows and explained 1.2% of phenotypic variation (VP), and one SNP on chromosome 4 was associated with tarsus length in collared flycatchers (3% of VP). Although we cannot exclude the possibility of undetected large-effect loci, our results indicate a polygenic basis for morphological traits.

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