Genetic correlations and their dependence on environmental similarity—Insights from livestock data

Mads Fristrup Schou, Ary Anthony Hoffmann, Torsten Nygård Kristensen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

Genetic correlations for a trait across environments are predicted to decrease as environments diverge. However, estimates of genetic correlations from natural populations are typically defined across a limited environmental range and prone to very large standard errors, making it difficult to test this prediction. We address the importance of environmental distance on genetic correlations by employing data from domestic cattle in which abundant and accurate estimates are available from a wide range of environments. Three production traits related to milk yield show a clear decrease in genetic correlations with increasing environmental divergence. This pattern was also evident for growth traits and other yield traits but not for traits related to reproduction, morphology, physiology, or disease. We suspect that this reflects weaker selection on these latter trait classes compared to production traits, or alternatively the effects of selection are constrained by unfavorable genetic correlations between traits. The results support the notion that traits that historically have been under strong directional selection in a small range of frequently encountered environments will evolve high genetic correlations across these environments, while exposure to uncommon (and dissimilar) environments lead to a reranking of gene effects and a decrease in genetic correlations across environments.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEvolution
Vol/bind73
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)1672-1678
Antal sider7
ISSN0014-3820
DOI
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2019

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Livestock
genetic correlation
livestock
growth traits
milk
Reproduction
physiology
cattle
milk yield
Milk
divergence
prediction
gene
Growth
Population
Genes
genes

Citer dette

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title = "Genetic correlations and their dependence on environmental similarity—Insights from livestock data",
abstract = "Genetic correlations for a trait across environments are predicted to decrease as environments diverge. However, estimates of genetic correlations from natural populations are typically defined across a limited environmental range and prone to very large standard errors, making it difficult to test this prediction. We address the importance of environmental distance on genetic correlations by employing data from domestic cattle in which abundant and accurate estimates are available from a wide range of environments. Three production traits related to milk yield show a clear decrease in genetic correlations with increasing environmental divergence. This pattern was also evident for growth traits and other yield traits but not for traits related to reproduction, morphology, physiology, or disease. We suspect that this reflects weaker selection on these latter trait classes compared to production traits, or alternatively the effects of selection are constrained by unfavorable genetic correlations between traits. The results support the notion that traits that historically have been under strong directional selection in a small range of frequently encountered environments will evolve high genetic correlations across these environments, while exposure to uncommon (and dissimilar) environments lead to a reranking of gene effects and a decrease in genetic correlations across environments.",
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Genetic correlations and their dependence on environmental similarity—Insights from livestock data. / Schou, Mads Fristrup; Hoffmann, Ary Anthony; Kristensen, Torsten Nygård.

I: Evolution, Bind 73 , Nr. 8, 08.2019, s. 1672-1678.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

TY - JOUR

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AU - Schou, Mads Fristrup

AU - Hoffmann, Ary Anthony

AU - Kristensen, Torsten Nygård

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N2 - Genetic correlations for a trait across environments are predicted to decrease as environments diverge. However, estimates of genetic correlations from natural populations are typically defined across a limited environmental range and prone to very large standard errors, making it difficult to test this prediction. We address the importance of environmental distance on genetic correlations by employing data from domestic cattle in which abundant and accurate estimates are available from a wide range of environments. Three production traits related to milk yield show a clear decrease in genetic correlations with increasing environmental divergence. This pattern was also evident for growth traits and other yield traits but not for traits related to reproduction, morphology, physiology, or disease. We suspect that this reflects weaker selection on these latter trait classes compared to production traits, or alternatively the effects of selection are constrained by unfavorable genetic correlations between traits. The results support the notion that traits that historically have been under strong directional selection in a small range of frequently encountered environments will evolve high genetic correlations across these environments, while exposure to uncommon (and dissimilar) environments lead to a reranking of gene effects and a decrease in genetic correlations across environments.

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