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Quantifying the genetic component of phenotypic variation in unpedigreed wild plants: tailoring genomic scan for within-population use

AuthorsHerrera, Carlos M. ; Bazaga, Pilar
KeywordsEcological genomics
Environmental variance
Fecundity hierarchy
Genetic variance
Genomic scan
Genotype-by-environment interaction
Viola cazorlensis
Issue Date13-May-2009
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
CitationMolecular Ecology (2009), doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04229.x (in press)
AbstractThe study of adaptive genetic variation in natural populations is central to evolutionary biology. Quantitative genetics methods, however, are hardly applicable to long-lived organisms, and current knowledge on adaptive genetic variation in wild plants mostly refers to annuals and short-lived perennials. Studies on long-lived species are essential to explore possible life-history correlates of genetic variation, selection, and trait heritability. In this paper, we propose a method based on molecular markers to quantify the genetic basis of individual phenotypic differences in wild plants under natural conditions. Rather than focusing on inferring individual relatedness to estimate the heritability of phenotypic traits, we directly estimate the proportion of observed phenotypic variance that is statistically accounted for by genotypic differences between individuals. This is achieved by (i) identifying loci that are correlated across individuals with the phenotypic trait of interest by means of an amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP)-based explorative genomic scan, and (ii) fitting multiple regression and linear random effect models to estimate the effects of genotype, environment and genotype × environment on phenotypes. We apply this method to estimate genotypic and environmental effects on cumulative maternal fecundity in a wild population of the long-lived Viola cazorlensis monitored for 20 years. Results show that between 56–63% (depending on estimation method) of phenotypic variance in fecundity is accounted for by genotypic differences in 11 AFLP loci that are significantly related to fecundity. Genotype × environment effects accounted for 38% of fecundity variance, which may help to explain the unexpectedly high levels of genetic variance for fecundity found.
Description13 pages, 3 figures, 3 tables.-- PMID: 19457184 [PubMed].-- Article in press.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04229.x
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