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A guide to using a multiple-matrix animal model to disentangle genetic and nongenetic causes of phenotypic variance [BioRxiv]

Caroline Elizabeth Thomson, Isabel Sophie Winney, Oceane Salles, Benoit Pujol

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Non-genetic influences on phenotypic traits can affect our interpretation of genetic variance and the evolutionary potential of populations to respond to selection, with consequences for our ability to predict the outcomes of selection. Long-term population surveys and experiments have shown that quantitative genetic estimates are influenced by nongenetic effects, including shared environmental effects, epigenetic effects, and social interactions. Recent developments to the "animal model" of quantitative genetics can now allow us to calculate precise individual-based measures of non-genetic phenotypic variance. These models can be applied to a much broader range of contexts and data types than used previously, with the potential to greatly expand our understanding of nongenetic effects on evolutionary potential. Here, we provide the first practical guide for researchers interested in distinguishing between genetic and nongenetic causes of phenotypic variation in the animal model.(...)

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