Future adaptation to changes in the environment depends on the existence of additive genetic variances within populations. Recently, considerable attention has also been given to the non-additive component, which plays an important role in inbreeding depression and bottleneck situations. In this study, I used data from a North Carolina II crossing experiment, analysed with restricted maximum-likelihood methods, to estimate the additive and dominance genetic (co)variances for eight quantitative characters in two different-sized populations of Scabiosa canescens, a rare and threatened plant in Sweden. There was no evidence for genetic erosion in the small Hällestad population ( approximately 25 individuals) relative to the large Ahus population ( approximately 5000 individuals). In fact, slightly higher heritabilities were found in the Hällestad population. The additive genetic variance was statistically significant for all traits in both populations, but only a few additive covariances reached significance. The Hällestad population also had higher mean levels and more traits with significant dominance variance than the Ahus population. The variance attributable to maternal effects was too low to be considered significant. There was only a weak correspondence between heritabilities for each trait in the present study and previous estimates based on open-pollinated families of the same populations, but the mean heritability (over characters) was consistent between the studies.
Sod transplantation experiment was carried out for 24 years in alpine communities, Teberda Reserve, the North-West Caucasus, Russia. Age of maturity (AOM) was estimated as a period between first registra- tion of a species on.a permanent plot and flowering shoot appearance. Mean species AOM varied from 2.3 years (Antennaria dioica with clonal propagation) to 13.7 years for Taraxacum stevenii (non-clonal plant). General gradient of alpine plant traits and population strategies was determined. It represents a continuum ranging from ruderal--stress-tolerants (shorter AOM, clonality, shorter leaf life span, low rate of mycorrhizal infection, low regrowth ability, low generative shoot number, low specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen content) to competitor--stress-tolerants (longer AOM, longer leaf life span, higher rate of mycorrhizal infection, higher regrowth ability, high generative shoot number, high specific leaf area and leaf nitrogen content).
A population's potential for evolutionary change depends on the amount of genetic variability expressed in traits under selection. Studies attempting to measure this variability typically do so over the life span of individuals, but theory suggests that the amount of additive genetic variance can change during the course of individuals' lives. Here we use pedigree data from historical Finns and a quantitative genetic framework to investigate how female fecundity, throughout an individual's reproductive life, is influenced by "maternal" versus additive genetic effects. We show that although maternal effects explain variation in female fecundity early in life, these effects wane with female age. Moreover, this decline in maternal effects is associated with a concomitant increase in additive genetic variance with age. Our results thus highlight that single over-lifetime estimates of trait heritability may give a misleading view of a trait's potential to respond to changing selection pressures.
The mechanisms through which genes influence body weight are not well understood, but appetite has been implicated as one mediating pathway. Here we use data from two independent population-based Finnish cohorts (4632 adults aged 25-74 years from the DILGOM study and 1231 twin individuals aged 21-26 years from the FinnTwin12 study) to investigate whether two appetitive traits mediate the associations between known obesity-related genetic variants and adiposity. The results from structural equation modelling indicate that the effects of a polygenic risk score (90 obesity-related loci) on measured body mass index and waist circumference are partly mediated through higher levels of uncontrolled eating (ßindirect = 0.030-0.032, P
Cites: Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Dec;90(6):1483-819828706
Cites: J Nutr. 2010 Apr;140(4):831-420181787
Cites: Int J Epidemiol. 2010 Apr;39(2):504-1819959603
Type II diabetes is caused by a failure of the pancreatic beta-cells to compensate for insulin resistance leading to hyperglycaemia. There is evidence for an essential role of an increased beta-cell apoptosis in type II diabetes. High glucose concentrations induce IL-1beta production in human beta-cells, Fas expression and concomitant apoptosis owing to a constitutive expression of FasL. FASL and FAS map to loci linked to type II diabetes and estimates of insulin resistance, respectively. We have tested two functional promoter polymorphisms, FAS-670 G>A and FASL-844C>T as well as a microsatellite in the 3' UTR of FASL for association to type II diabetes in 549 type II diabetic patients and 525 normal-glucose-tolerant (NGT) control subjects. Furthermore, we have tested these polymorphisms for association to estimates of beta-cell function and insulin resistance in NGT subjects. We found significant association to type II diabetes for the allele distribution of the FASL microsatellite (P-value 0.02, Bonferroni corrected). The FAS-670G>A was associated with homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance index and body mass index (P-values 0.02 and 0.02). We conclude that polymorphisms of FASL and FAS associate with type II diabetes and estimates of insulin resistance in Danish white subjects.
Genome-wide variation in introgression rates across hybrid zones offers a powerful opportunity for studying population differentiation. One poorly understood pattern of introgression is the geographic displacement of a trait implicated in lineage divergence from genome-wide population boundaries. While difficult to interpret, this pattern can facilitate the dissection of trait genetic architecture because traits become uncoupled from their ancestral genomic background. We studied an example of trait displacement generated by the introgression of head plumage coloration from personata to alba subspecies of the white wagtail. A previous study of their hybrid zone in Siberia revealed that the geographic transition in this sexual signal that mediates assortative mating was offset from other traits and genetic markers. Here we show that head plumage is associated with two small genetic regions. Despite having a simple genetic architecture, head plumage inheritance is consistent with partial dominance and epistasis, which could contribute to its asymmetric introgression.
Leaf life span is an important plant trait associated with interspecific variation in leaf, organismal, and ecosystem processes. We hypothesized that intraspecific variation in gymnosperm needle traits with latitude reflects both selection and acclimation for traits adaptive to the associated temperature and moisture gradient. This hypothesis was supported, because across 127 sites along a 2,160-km gradient in North America individuals of Picea glauca, Picea mariana, Pinus banksiana, and Abies balsamea had longer needle life span and lower tissue nitrogen concentration with decreasing mean annual temperature. Similar patterns were noted for Pinus sylvestris across a north-south gradient in Europe. These differences highlight needle longevity as an adaptive feature important to ecological success of boreal conifers across broad climatic ranges. Additionally, differences in leaf life span directly affect annual foliage turnover rate, which along with needle physiology partially regulates carbon cycling through effects on gross primary production and net canopy carbon export. However, most, if not all, global land surface models parameterize needle longevity of boreal evergreen forests as if it were a constant. We incorporated temperature-dependent needle longevity and %nitrogen, and biomass allocation, into a land surface model, Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange, to assess their impacts on carbon cycling processes. Incorporating realistic parameterization of these variables improved predictions of canopy leaf area index and gross primary production compared with observations from flux sites. Finally, increasingly low foliage turnover and biomass fraction toward the cold far north indicate that a surprisingly small fraction of new biomass is allocated to foliage under such conditions.
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Sep 23;111(38):13721-625225412
Cites: Tree Physiol. 2003 Jun;23(9):591-60112750052
Cites: Science. 2003 Jun 6;300(5625):1560-312791990
Cites: Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Jun 7;279(1736):2128-3422279168
Twin concordance data for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on their own provide only limited insight into the relative genetic and environmental contribution to the disease. We applied quantitative genetic methods to assess the heritability of RA and to examine for evidence of differences in the genetic contribution according to sex, age, and clinical disease characteristics.
Data were analyzed from 2 previously published nationwide studies of twins with RA conducted in Finland and the United Kingdom. Heritability was assessed by variance components analysis. Differences in the genetic contribution by sex, age, age at disease onset, and clinical characteristics were examined by stratification. The power of the twin study design to detect these differences was examined through simulation.
The heritability of RA was 65% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 50-77) in the Finnish data and 53% (95% CI 40-65) in the UK data. There was no significant difference in the strength of the genetic contribution according to sex, age, age at onset, or disease severity subgroup. Both study designs had power to detect a contribution of at least 40% from the common family environment, and a difference in the genetic contribution of at least 50% between subgroups.
Genetic factors have a substantial contribution to RA in the population, accounting for approximately 60% of the variation in liability to disease. Although tempered by power considerations, there is no evidence in these twin data that the overall genetic contribution to RA differs by sex, age, age at disease onset, and disease severity.
Drosophila melanogaster invaded Australia around 100 years ago, most likely through a northern invasion. The wide range of climatic conditions in eastern Australia across which D. melanogaster is now found provides an opportunity for researchers to identify traits and genes that are associated with climatic adaptation. Allozyme studies indicate clinal patterns for at least four loci including a strong linear cline in Adh and a non-linear cline in alpha-Gpdh. Inversion clines were initially established from cytological studies but have now been validated with larger sample sizes using molecular markers for breakpoints. Recent collections indicate that some genetic markers (Adh and In(3R)Payne) have changed over the last 20 years reflecting continuing evolution. Heritable clines have been established for quantitative traits including wing length/area, thorax length and cold and heat resistance. A cline in egg size independent of body size and a weak cline in competitive ability have also been established. Postulated clinal patterns for resistance to desiccation and starvation have not been supported by extensive sampling. Experiments under laboratory and semi-natural conditions have suggested selective factors generating clinal patterns, particularly for reproductive patterns over winter. Attempts are being made to link clinal variation in traits to specific genes using QTL analysis and the candidate locus approach, and to identify the genetic architecture of trait variation along the cline. This is proving difficult because of inversion polymorphisms that generate disequilibrium among genes. Substantial gaps still remain in linking clines to field selection and understanding the genetic and physiological basis of the adaptive shifts. However D. melanogaster populations in eastern Australia remain an excellent resource for understanding past and future evolutionary responses to climate change.
To search for new sequence variants that confer risk of cutaneous basal cell carcinoma (BCC), we conducted a genome-wide SNP association study of 930 Icelanders with BCC and 33,117 controls. After analyzing 304,083 SNPs, we observed signals from loci at 1p36 and 1q42, and replicated these associations in additional sample sets from Iceland and Eastern Europe. Overall, the most significant signals were from rs7538876 on 1p36 (OR = 1.28, P = 4.4 x 10(-12)) and rs801114 on 1q42 (OR = 1.28, P = 5.9 x 10(-12)). The 1p36 locus contains the candidate genes PADI4, PADI6, RCC2 and ARHGEF10L, and the gene nearest to the 1q42 locus is the ras-homolog RHOU. Neither locus was associated with fair pigmentation traits that are known risk factors for BCC, and no risk was observed for melanoma. Approximately 1.6% of individuals of European ancestry are homozygous for both variants, and their estimated risk of BCC is 2.68 times that of noncarriers.