The quantitative genetics of indirect genetic effects: a selective review of modelling issues : Review

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Indirect genetic effects (IGE) occur when the genotype of an individual affects the phenotypic trait value of another conspecific individual. IGEs can have profound effects on both the magnitude and the direction of response to selection. Models of inheritance and response to selection in traits subject to IGEs have been developed within two frameworks; a trait-based framework in which IGEs are specified as a direct consequence of individual trait values, and a variance-component framework in which phenotypic variance is decomposed into a direct and an indirect additive genetic component. This work is a selective review of the quantitative genetics of traits affected by IGEs, with a focus on modelling, estimation and interpretation issues. It includes a discussion on variance-component vs trait-based models of IGEs, a review of issues related to the estimation of IGEs from field data, including the estimation of the interaction coefficient ¿ (psi), and a discussion on the relevance of IGEs for response to selection in cases where the strength of interaction varies among pairs of individuals. An investigation of the trait-based model shows that the interaction coefficient ¿ may deviate considerably from the corresponding regression coefficient when feedback occurs. The increasing research effort devoted to IGEs suggests that they are a widespread phenomenon, probably particularly in natural populations and plants. Further work in this field should considerably broaden our understanding of the quantitative genetics of inheritance and response to selection in relation to the social organisation of populations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-69
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • average daily gain
  • multilevel selection
  • incorporating interaction
  • ecological interactions
  • interacting phenotypes
  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • variance-components
  • heritable variation
  • biological groups
  • sexual selection

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