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Genetics. 1980 Jan;94(1):203-15.

The Genetic Covariance between Characters Maintained by Pleiotropic Mutations.

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Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.


A statistical genetic model of a multivariate phenotype is derived to investigate the covariation of pleiotropic mutations with additive effects under the combined action of phenotypic selection, linkage and the mating system. Equilibrium formulas for large, randomly mating populations demonstrate that, when selection on polygenic variation is much smaller than twice the harmonic mean recombination rate between loci with interacting fitnesses, linkage disequilibrium is negligible and pleiotropy is the main cause of genetic correlations between characters. Under these conditions, approximate expressions for the dynamics of the genetic covariances due to pleiotropic mutations are obtained. Patterns of genetic covariance between characters and their evolution are discussed with reference to data on polygenic mutation, chromosomal organization and morphological integration.


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