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Genetics. 1986 Dec;114(4):1191-211.

The Effect of an Experimental Bottleneck upon Quantitative Genetic Variation in the Housefly.

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Department of Biology, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77004.


Effects of a population bottleneck (founder-flush cycle) upon quantitative genetic variation of morphometric traits were examined in replicated experimental lines of the housefly founded with one, four or 16 pairs of flies. Heritability and additive genetic variances for eight morphometric traits generally increased as a result of the bottleneck, but the pattern of increase among bottleneck sizes differed among traits. Principal axes of the additive genetic correlation matrix for the control line yielded two suites of traits, one associated with general body size and another set largely independent of body size. In the former set containing five of the traits, additive genetic variance was greatest in the bottleneck size of four pairs, whereas in the latter set of two traits the largest additive genetic variance occurred in the smallest bottleneck size of one pair. One trait exhibited changes in additive genetic variance intermediate between these two major responses. These results were inconsistent with models of additive effects of alleles within loci or of additive effects among loci. An observed decline in viability measures and body size in the bottleneck lines also indicated that there was nonadditivity of allelic effects for these traits. Several possible nonadditive models were explored that increased additive genetic variance as a result of a bottleneck. These included a model with complete dominance, a model with overdominance and a model incorporating multiplicative epistasis.

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