↑ Return to Genetics and Genomics

Share Button
Header of the course Quantitative Genetics of Shape - 3rd Edition


Course director








PLEASE NOTE: Next edition for this course will be held in 2016. If you want to receive information once the registration is open, please subscribe without any obligation by selecting the topic Genetics and Genomics.

Quantitative Genetics of Shape

The aim of this course is to provide participants with an overview of quantitative genetics, with specific application to shape analysis and decomposition of phenotypic variation into components of genetic and environmental variation. The basic theoretical concepts of resemblance between relatives, heritability, estimates of selection, and geometric morphometrics will be introduced. Practical lessons will enable participants to learn to use user-friendly (and not so user-friendly) software packages to estimate heritability, phenotypic and genetic variance covariance matrices, response to hypothetical selection, actual selection and QTL mapping. Participants are encouraged to bring their own data for analysis and discussion in the course. Morphometric data involves any kind of quantitative shape data collected on individuals, such as linear measurements and/or 2D or 3D landmark coordinates. Pedigree files usually consist of text files with a list of three columns (individual ID, father ID, mother ID). Specific details about formatting these files will be provided during the practical lessons.


Dr. Neus Martínez-Abadías instructor at Transmitting Science
Dr. Neus Martínez-Abadías
(Centre for Genomic Regulation, Spain).
Dr. Nicolas Navarro instructor at Transmitting Science
Dr. Nicolas Navarro

(École Pratique des Hautes Études, France).

Course director:

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno course director at Transmitting Science
Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno

(Transmitting Science, Spain).


Graduate or postgraduate degree in Life or Earth Sciences, basic knowledge of statistics and personal computers. Knowledge of Genetics and Geometric Morphometrics. All participants must bring their own personal laptop.

We would like to encourage participants to bring along their own morphometrics data and pedigree / quantitative genetic information.




1st Day.

- Overview of Quantitative Genetics.

    • Resemblance between relatives.
    • Fishers variance decomposition: Phenotypic, genetic and environmental variation.
    • Methods to estimate heritability: From correlation to REML.

- Practical.

    • Heritability of simple univariate shape traits.
    • Programs: SOLAR, VCE, Wombat.


2nd Day.

- Quantitative genetics of shape on a multivariate framework.

    • Geometric Morphometrics analysis of shape.
    • Mixed Models for estimating heritability.
    • G and P: Genetic and phenotypic variance-covariance matrices.

- Practical.

    • Estimation and comparison between G and P components of shape.
    • Programs: VCE, Wombat, MorphoJ.
3rd Day.

- Shape and selection.

    • Response to selection.
    • Estimation of natural selection.

- Practical.

    • Estimation of hypothetical response to selection: Breeder’s equation.
    • Multiple regression of fitness on shape.
    • Programs: MorphoJ.


4th Day.

- QTL mapping of multivariate traits.

    • Crosses for QTL mapping.
    • Recombination model.
    • Interval mapping and Haley-Knott regression.

- Practical.

    • Compute genotype probabilities.
    • Multivariate regression of shape on genotype probabilities.
    • Programs: MorphoJ, R/qtl.


- Klingenberg CP, Leamy LJ, Routman , EJ, Cheverud, JM (2001) Genetic architecture of mandible shape in mice: Effects of quantitative trait loci analyzed by geometric morphometrics. Genetics, 157: 785-802.

- Mcguigan K (2006) Studying phenotypic evolution using multivariate quantitative genetics. Molecular Ecology, 15: 883-896.

- Navarro N, Klingenberg CP (2007) Mapping multiple QTLs of geometric shape of the mouse mandible, in S. Barber, P.D. Baxter and K.V. Mardia (eds), Systems Biology and Statistical Bioinformatics, p. 125-128. Leeds, Leeds University Press.

- Klingenberg CP (2010) Evolution and development of shape: Integrating quantitative approaches. Nature Reviews Genetics, 11: 623-635.

- Martínez-Abadías N, Esparza M, Sjøvold T, González-José R, Santos M, Hernández M (2009) Heritability of human cranial dimensions: Comparing the evolvability of different cranial regions. Journal of Anatomy, 214: 19-35.

- Martínez-Abadías N, Esparza M, Sjøvold T, González-José R, Santos M, Hernández M, Klingenberg CP (2012) Pervasive genetic integration directs the evolution of human skull shape. Evolution, 66: 1010-23.

Classical books on Quantitative Genetics:

- Falconer DS and Mackay TFC (1996) Introduction to quantitative genetics, Essex: Longman Group, Ltd.

- Roff DA (1997) Evolutionary quantitative genetics, New York: Chapman & Hall.

- Lynch M and Walsh B (1998) Genetics analysis of quantitative traits, Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates.


For further information contact: courses@transmittingscience.org.


Transmitting Science Logo


Colegio Oficial de Biólogos de Castilla y León Logo Colegio Oficial de Biólogos de Euskadi Logo Colexio Oficial de Biólogos de Galicia Logo
Col·legi Oficial de Biòlegs de la Comunitat Valenciana Logo European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists (EAVP) Logo


We accept donations, which would be entirely devoted to support students without financial resources so that theymay offset the cost of participating in our courses and workshops.