Send to

Choose Destination
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Jun 12;364(1523):1567-78. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0313.

Characterizing the evolution of genetic variance using genetic covariance tensors.

Author information

School of Integrative Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.


Determining how genetic variance changes under selection in natural populations has proved to be a very resilient problem in evolutionary genetics. In the same way that understanding the availability of genetic variance within populations requires the simultaneous consideration of genetic variance in sets of functionally related traits, determining how genetic variance changes under selection in natural populations will require ascertaining how genetic variance-covariance (G) matrices evolve. Here, we develop a geometric framework using higher-order tensors, which enables the empirical characterization of how G matrices have diverged among populations. We then show how divergence among populations in genetic covariance structure can then be associated with divergence in selection acting on those traits using key equations from evolutionary theory. Using estimates of G matrices of eight male sexually selected traits from nine geographical populations of Drosophila serrata, we show that much of the divergence in genetic variance occurred in a single trait combination, a conclusion that could not have been reached by examining variation among the individual elements of the nine G matrices. Divergence in G was primarily in the direction of the major axes of genetic variance within populations, suggesting that genetic drift may be a major cause of divergence in genetic variance among these populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center