Send to

Choose Destination
J Evol Biol. 2019 Jan 28. doi: 10.1111/jeb.13417. [Epub ahead of print]

Direct and indirect genetic effects on reproductive investment in a grasshopper.

Author information

Department of Evolutionary Biology, Bielefeld University, Morgenbreede 45, 33615, Bielefeld, Germany.
Population Ecology Group, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Friedrich Schiller University, Dornburger Stra├če 159, 07743, Jena, Germany.


A fundamental part of the quantitative genetic theory deals with the partitioning of the phenotypic variance into additive genetic and environmental components. During interaction with conspecifics, the interaction partner becomes a part of the environment from the perspective of the focal individual. If the interaction effects have a genetic basis, they are called indirect genetic effects (IGEs) and can evolve along with direct genetic effects. Sexual reproduction is a classic context where potential conflict between males and females can arise from trade-offs between current and future investments. We studied five female fecundity traits, egg length and number, egg pod length and number and latency to first egg pod, and estimated the direct and IGEs using a half-sib breeding design in the grasshopper Chorthippus biguttulus. We found that the male IGEs were an order of magnitude lower than the direct genetic effects and were not significantly different from zero. However, there was some indication that IGEs were larger shortly after mating, consistent with the idea that IGEs fade with time after interaction. Female direct heritabilities were moderate to low. Simulation shows that the variance component estimates can appear larger with less data, calling for care when interpreting variance components estimated with low power. Our results illustrate that the contribution of male IGEs is overall low on the phenotypic variance of female fecundity traits. Thus even in the relevant context of sexual conflict, the influence of male IGEs on the evolutionary trajectory of female reproductive traits is likely to be small. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Acrididae; Orthoptera; female fecundity; heritability; interacting phenotypes; postcopulatory sexual selection; quantitative genetics; sexual conflict


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center