Quantitative genetics of bioenergetics and growth-related traits in the wild mammal, Phyllotis darwini

Evolution. 2005 Aug;59(8):1829-37.


We studied the potential for response to selection in typical physiological-thermoregulatory traits of mammals such as maximum metabolic rate (MMR), nonshivering thermogenesis (NST) and basal metabolic rate (BMR) on cold-acclimated animals. We used an animal model approach to estimate both narrow-sense heritabilities (h2) and genetic correlations between physiological and growth-related traits. Univariate analyses showed that MMR presented high, significant heritability (h2 = 0.69 +/- 0.35, asymptotic standard error), suggesting the potential for microevolution in this variable. However, NST and BMR presented low, nonsignificant h2, and NST showed large maternal/common environmental/nonadditive effects (c2 = 0.34 +/- 0.17). Heritabilities were large and significant (h2 > 0.5) for all growth-related traits (birth mass, growth rate, weaning mass). The only significant genetic correlations we found between a physiological trait and a growth-related trait was between NST and birth mass (r = -0.74; P < 0.05). Overall, these results suggest that additive genetic variance is present in several bioenergetic traits, and that genetic correlations could be present between those different kinds of traits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization*
  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Body Size / physiology*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Chile
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Inheritance Patterns / genetics
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Sigmodontinae