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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

4th Edition

From Phenotype to Genotype: The Genetic Basis of Shape

January 23rd-26th, 2018, Barcelona (Spain)

Genetics and Genomics

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From Phenotype to Genotype: The Genetic Basis 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.


Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP)

C/ de l’Escola Industrial, 23
08201 Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there




30 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 16 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.


Neus Martínez-Abadías instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Neus Martínez-Abadías
Centre for Genomic Regulation

Nicolas Navarro instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Nicolas Navarro
École Pratique des Hautes Études


Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano coordinator at Transmitting Science

Dr. Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano
Transmitting Science

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


Graduate or postgraduate degree in Life Sciences, basic knowledge of Statistics, 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.


Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018.

  • 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.

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018.

  • 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.

Thursday, January 25th, 2018.

  • 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.

Friday, January 26th, 2018.

  • 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.

Previous editions of this course

3rd Edition, September 6th-9th, 2016

Course From Phenotype to Genotype: The Genetic Basis of Shape - 3rd Edition, September 6th-9th, 2016Nine people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Spain: Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.
  • Ecuador: Technical University of Loja.
  • Switzerland: Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Sciences and Technology – Eawag, ETH Zurich.
  • Chile: Talca University.
  • Croatia: Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries.
  • Czech Republic: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague.
  • Germany: University of Leipzig, Museum für Naturkunde – Berlin.

2nd Edition, February 3rd-6th, 2014

Course From Phenotype to Genotype: The Genetic Basis of Shape - 2nd Edition, February 3rd-6th, 2014Nine people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • United Kingdom: Royal Holloway and Bedford New College.
  • Mexico: Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas – Instituto Politécnico Nacional.
  • France: Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle.
  • Spain: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Autonomous University of Madrid, Museo Nacional Ciencias Naturales – CSIC.
  • Sweden: Uppsala University.
  • Belgium: Prince Leopold Institute of Tropical Medicine.
  • Germany: Universität Konstanz.

1st Edition, April 8th-11th, 2013

Course From Phenotype to Genotype: The Genetic Basis of Shape - 1st Edition, April 8th-11th, 2013Six people belonging to the following countries and institutions participated in this edition:

  • Germany: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology – Max Planck Society.
  • Spain: Universitat de Barcelona.
  • Canada: University of Calgary.
  • United Kingdom: University of Cambridge.
  • Russia: Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography – Kunstkamera.
  • United States of America: Monsanto Company.


  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until September 30th, 2017):
  • 475
  • Regular (after September 30th, 2017):
  • 665
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches.
    (VAT included)

We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact the course coordinators).


The course will take place in the city of Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain). Take a look at the venue.

You may stay in Barcelona city or Sabadell. You will find information about Hotels and Hostel in Sabadell here. It takes about 45 minutes by public transport to arrive to Sabadell from the centre of Barcelona city. The place of the course is about 15 minutes walking from the train stop.



Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

Furthermore, 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.


Thanks to the donations of former participants, this year there are scholarships available for PhD students. The scholarships are in the form of tuition fee waivers only, they do not cover travelling and lodging.

If you want to apply please fill up this form. Deadline: October 31st, 2017. You should register for the course before applying.


Course Schedule
Tuesday, January 23rd through Friday, January 26th, 20189:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
13:30 to 15:00 Lunch.
15:00 to 18:30 Lessons.

There will be two coffee breaks each day, halfway through each lesson session.

The schedule is approximate; it is possible that the content of one day may run into the next and a working day may be longer than advertised.


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