3 years ago

Structure and stability of genetic variance–covariance matrices: A Bayesian sparse factor analysis of transcriptional variation in the three-spined stickleback

J. Merilä, J. Siren, O. Ovaskainen
The genetic variance–covariance matrix (G) is a quantity of central importance in evolutionary biology due to its influence on the rate and direction of multivariate evolution. However, the predictive power of empirically estimated G-matrices is limited for two reasons. First, phenotypes are high-dimensional, whereas traditional statistical methods are tuned to estimate and analyse low-dimensional matrices. Second, the stability of G to environmental effects and over time remains poorly understood. Using Bayesian sparse factor analysis (BSFG) designed to estimate high-dimensional G-matrices, we analysed levels variation and covariation in 10,527 expressed genes in a large (n = 563) half-sib breeding design of three-spined sticklebacks subject to two temperature treatments. We found significant differences in the structure of G between the treatments: heritabilities and evolvabilities were higher in the warm than in the low-temperature treatment, suggesting more and faster opportunity to evolve in warm (stressful) conditions. Furthermore, comparison of G and its phenotypic equivalent P revealed the latter is a poor substitute of the former. Most strikingly, the results suggest that the expected impact of G on evolvability—as well as the similarity among G-matrices—may depend strongly on the number of traits included into analyses. In our results, the inclusion of only few traits in the analyses leads to underestimation in the differences between the G-matrices and their predicted impacts on evolution. While the results highlight the challenges involved in estimating G, they also illustrate that by enabling the estimation of large G-matrices, the BSFG method can improve predicted evolutionary responses to selection.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/mec.14265

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.