A multilocus analysis of intraspecific competition and stabilizing selection on a quantitative trait

J Math Biol. 2005 Apr;50(4):355-96. doi: 10.1007/s00285-004-0294-2. Epub 2004 Dec 20.


The equilibrium structure of an additive, diallelic multilocus model of a quantitative trait under frequency- and density-dependent selection is derived. The trait is under stabilizing selection and mediates intraspecific competition as induced, for instance, by differential resource utilization. It is assumed that stabilizing selection is weak, but the strength of competition may be arbitrary relative to it. Density dependence is caused by population regulation, which may be of a very general kind. The number and effects of loci are arbitrary, and stabilizing selection is not necessarily symmetric with respect to the range of phenotypic values. All previously studied models of intraspecific competition for a continuum of resources known to the author reduce to a special case of the present model if overall selection is weak. Therefore, in this case our results are applicable as approximations to all these models. Our central result is the (nearly) complete characterization of the equilibrium and stability structure in terms of all parameters. It is derived under the sole assumption that selection is weak enough relative to recombination to ignore linkage disequilibrium. In particular, necessary and sufficient conditions on the strength of competition relative to stabilizing selection are found that ensure the maintenance of multilocus polymorphism and the occurrence of disruptive selection. In this case, explicit formulas for the number of polymorphic loci at equilibrium, the allele frequencies, the genetic variance, and the strength of disruptive selection are obtained. For two loci, the effects of linkage are investigated analytically; for several loci, they are studied numerically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Genetic Variation
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Numerical Analysis, Computer-Assisted
  • Quantitative Trait Loci / genetics*
  • Selection, Genetic*