University of Oulu

Fraimout Antoine, Li Zitong, Sillanpää Mikko J. and Merilä Juha 2022 Age-dependent genetic architecture across ontogeny of body size in sticklebacks. Proc. R. Soc. B.289: 20220352,

Age-dependent genetic architecture across ontogeny of body size in sticklebacks

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Author: Fraimout, Antoine1; Li, Zitong1,2; Sillanpää, Mikko J.3;
Organizations: 1Ecological Genetics Research Unit, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, FI-00014, Finland
2CSIRO Agriculture and Food, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
3Research Unit of Mathematical Sciences, University of Oulu, FI-90014, Finland
4Area of Ecology and Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: The Royal Society, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-17


Heritable variation in traits under natural selection is a prerequisite for evolutionary response. While it is recognized that trait heritability may vary spatially and temporally depending on which environmental conditions traits are expressed under, less is known about the possibility that genetic variance contributing to the expected selection response in a given trait may vary at different stages of ontogeny. Specifically, whether different loci underlie the expression of a trait throughout development and thus providing an additional source of variation for selection to act on in the wild, is unclear. Here we show that body size, an important life-history trait, is heritable throughout ontogeny in the nine-spined stickleback (Pungitius pungitius). Nevertheless, both analyses of quantitative trait loci and genetic correlations across ages show that different chromosomes/loci contribute to this heritability in different ontogenic time-points. This suggests that body size can respond to selection at different stages of ontogeny but that this response is determined by different loci at different points of development. Hence, our study provides important results regarding our understanding of the genetics of ontogeny and opens an interesting avenue of research for studying age-specific genetic architecture as a source of non-parallel evolution.

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Series: Proceedings of the Royal Society. B, Biological sciences
ISSN: 0962-8452
ISSN-E: 1471-2954
ISSN-L: 0962-8452
Volume: 289
Issue: 1975
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2022.0352
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 112 Statistics and probability
Funding: This study was supported by the Academy of Finland (grantnos. 129662, 134728 and 218343 to J.M.).
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.