Relationships between quantitative and reproductive fitness traits in animals

Lutz Bünger, Ronald M Lewis, Max F Rothschild, Agustin Blasco, Ulla Renne, Geoff Simm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The relationships between quantitative and reproductive fitness traits in animals are of general biological importance for the development of population genetic models and our understanding of evolution, and of great direct economical importance in the breeding of farm animals. Two well investigated quantitative traits--body weight (BW) and litter size (LS)--were chosen as the focus of our review. The genetic relationships between them are reviewed in fishes and several mammalian species. We have focused especially on mice where data are most abundant. In mice, many individual genes influencing these traits have been identified, and numerous quantitative trait loci (QTL) located. The extensive data on both unselected and selected mouse populations, with some characterized for more than 100 generations, allow a thorough investigation of the dynamics of this relationship during the process of selection. Although there is a substantial positive genetic correlation between both traits in unselected populations, caused mainly by the high correlation between BW and ovulation rate, that correlation apparently declines during selection and therefore does not restrict a relatively independent development of both traits. The importance of these findings for overall reproductive fitness and its change during selection is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489-502
Number of pages14
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1459
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Breeding
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Genetics, Population
  • Inbreeding
  • Litter Size
  • Male
  • Mammals
  • Models, Genetic
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Reproduction
  • Selection, Genetic


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