Feasibility and Uncertainty in Behavior Genetics for the Nonhuman Primate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The analysis of phenotypic covariances among genetically related individuals is the basis for estimations of genetic and phenotypic effects on phenotypes. Beyond heritability, there are several other estimates that can be made with behavior genetic models of interest to primatologists. Some of these estimates are feasible with primate samples because they take advantage of the types of relatives available to compare in primate species and because most behaviors are expressed orders of magnitude more often and in a greater variety of contexts than morphological or life-history traits. The hypotheses that can be tested with these estimates are contrasted with hypotheses that will be difficult to achieve in primates because of sample size limitations. Feasible comparisons include the proportion of variance from interaction effects, the variation of genetic effects across environments, and the genetics of growth and development. Simulation shows that uncertainty of genetic parameters can be reduced by sampling each individual more than once. Because sample sizes are likely to remain relatively small in most primate behavior genetics, expressing uncertainty in parameter estimates is needed to move our inferences forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-168
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Primatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Animal model
  • Heritability
  • Pedigree
  • Power analysis
  • Primates
  • Quantitative genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Feasibility and Uncertainty in Behavior Genetics for the Nonhuman Primate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this