Evolutionary consequences of indirect genetic effects

Trends Ecol Evol. 1998 Feb 1;13(2):64-9. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5347(97)01233-0.


Indirect genetic effects (IGEs) are environmental influences on the phenotype of one individual that are due to the expression of genes in a different, conspecific, individual. Historically, work has focused on the influence of parents on offspring but recent advances have extended this perspective to interactions among other relatives and even unrelated individuals. IGEs lead to complicated pathways of inheritance, where environmental sources of variation can be transmitted across generations and therefore contribute to evolutionary change. The existence of IGEs alters the genotype-phenotype relationship, changing the evolutionary process in some dramatic and non-intuitive ways.