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Evolution. 2002 Nov;56(11):2322-9.

Genetically based phenotype-environment association for swimming behavior in lake whitefish ecotypes (Coregonus clupeaformis Mitchill).

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  • 1Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Ste-Foy, Québec G1K 7P4, Canada.


Studies of phenotype-environment associations in adaptive radiation have focused largely on morphological traits related to resource-based phenotypic differences. The genetic basis of adaptive behaviors implicated in population divergence remains poorly understood, as few studies have tested the hypothesis of behavioral phenotype-environment associations. We provide evidence of a phenotype-environment association for differential adaptive swimming behaviors through experiments conducted on dwarf, normal, and hybrid lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis). Highly significant differences were observed for depth selection, directional changes, and burst swimming, implicating a genetic basis for these behaviors. Hybrid crosses revealed that depth selection is under additive genetic control, while dominance effects were suggested for directional changes and burst swimming. Estimates for the genetic basis of behavioral differentiation from an animal model were consistent with these observations. Comparative estimates of behavioral differentiation (Q(ST)) against neutral expectations (F(ST)) revealed pronounced departures from neutral expectations in all three behavioral phenotypes, consistent with the hypothesis that directional selection has driven the divergence of behavior in dwarf and normal lake whitefish ecotypes.

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