Heritability of asymmetry and lateral plate number in the threespine stickleback

John Loehr, Tuomas Leinonen, G. Herczeg, Robert B. O'Hara, Juha Merilä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The estimation of individual fitness and quality are important elements of evolutionary ecological research. Over the past six decades, there has been great interest in using fluctuating asymmetry (FA) to represent individual quality, yet, serious technical problems have hampered efforts to estimate the heritability of FA, which, in turn, has limited progress in the investigation of FA from an evolutionary perspective. Here we estimate the heritability of number of lateral plates, their FA and directional asymmetry (DA) in threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. By (i) using a meristic trait and (ii) basing our calculations on a large half-sib design experiment involving 2,079 offspring from 84 families, we overcame many of the difficulties faced by earlier FA studies. Both lateral plate number and FA in lateral plates were heritable (h2 = 0.46 and 0.21, respectively), even after controlling for marker genotypes linked to EDA (the major locus influencing plate number). Likewise, DA in lateral plates was heritable h2 = 0.23). The additive genetic component of FA in lateral plates makes it a prime candidate for further investigation into the evolutionary implications of FA and the genetic underpinnings of developmental instability. This discovery in an evolutionary model species holds the possibility to invigorate the study of FA from an evolutionary perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39843
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 6 2012

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Smegmamorpha
Gasterosteus aculeatus
heritability
Genotype
Research
experimental design
Experiments
loci
genotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Heritability of asymmetry and lateral plate number in the threespine stickleback. / Loehr, John; Leinonen, Tuomas; Herczeg, G.; O'Hara, Robert B.; Merilä, Juha.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 7, No. 7, e39843, 06.07.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Loehr, John ; Leinonen, Tuomas ; Herczeg, G. ; O'Hara, Robert B. ; Merilä, Juha. / Heritability of asymmetry and lateral plate number in the threespine stickleback. In: PLoS One. 2012 ; Vol. 7, No. 7.
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