The rate and direction of adaptive evolution critically depends on the additive genetic variances and covariances underlying the traits subject to selection. As a consequence, understanding the genetic basis of complex morphological, life-history, physiological, ornamental and behavioural traits is crucial if we are to understand their evolutionary potential, and the evolutionary process in general.
Quantitative genetics uses the phenotypic resemblance among related individuals to infer the role of genes and the environment in shaping phenotypic variation. Depending on the species, we can use data obtained from breeding experiments in captivity (e.g. insects), or from individual-based monitoring programs in the wild (e.g. birds and mammals). Especially the latter has benefited greatly from the application of animal model methodology, originally developed in animal breeding to identify individuals of high genetic merit. By simultaneously using the resemblance among all individuals in the pedigree, these methods provide more precise and accurate estimates of genetic and non-genetic variance components (heritabilities and genetic correlations). Furthermore, they allow for the estimation of individual-level genetic effects (breeding values), and thereby the inference of evolution.
In this course we will cover everything from basic quantitative genetic theory and statistics to advanced mixed model-based approaches. You will learn how to estimate genetic variances and covariances in wild and captive populations, and how to test for evolutionary change. Along the way, you will be exposed to the main software packages, and the R packages MCMCglmm and ASReml-R in particular, and you will learn about their strengths and weaknesses. You are strongly encouraged to bring your own data (if you have it), which you will be able to work on during the course and which will allow you to put the theory into practice.
- Falconer DS, Mackay TFC (1996) Introduction to quantitative genetics, Prantice Hall, Harlow, United Kingdom, 4th Edition.
- Lynch M, Walsh B (1998) Genetics and analysis of quantitative traits, Sinauer, Sunderland, MA, United States.
- Kruuk LEB (2004) Estimating genetic parameters in natural populations using the ‘animal model’. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B, 359: 873-890.
- Kruuk LEB, Slate J, Wilson AJ (2008) New answers for old questions: The evolutionary quantitative genetics of wild animal populations. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst, 39: 525-548.
- Wilson AJ, Réale D, Clements MN, Morrissey MM, Postma E, Walling CA, Kruuk LEB, Nussey DH (2010) An ecologist’s guide to the animal model. J Anim Ecol, 79: 13-26.
- Charmantier A, Garant D, Kruuk LEB (2014) Quantitative genetics in the wild, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.
Unfortunately there are no scholarships available for this course. However a 20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Organizations with discount). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).
Spanish unemployed scientists, as well as Spanish PhD students without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinators. That would apply for a maximum of 2 places and they will be covered by strict inscription order.
Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.