16. The Genetics of Morphology

  1. David R. Begun
  1. Richard J. Sherwood and
  2. Dana L. Duren

Published Online: 14 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch16

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

How to Cite

Sherwood, R. J. and Duren, D. L. (2013) The Genetics of Morphology, in A Companion to Paleoanthropology (ed D. R. Begun), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch16

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444331165

Online ISBN: 9781118332344



  • craniofacial complex;
  • genetic influences;
  • morphology;
  • paleoanthropology;
  • quantitative genetic approaches


Current understanding of the genetic underpinnings of human and nonhuman primate morphology comes primarily from three sources: extrapolation from developmental studies of fish or avian animal models, analysis of morphology affected by genetic abnormalities in humans, or from the application of modern quantitative genetic approaches including genome-wide linkage analyses. This chapter explores the genetic influences on morphology, focusing on examples from the craniofacial complex, and examines the relevance to the evolution of the primate form. Many animal models have been used to explore the genetic underpinnings of craniofacial structures. The chapter examines a quantitative genetic approach to dental genetics in primates following the discussion of the genetics of mouse dentition. It also explores current work on the quantitative genetics of the human and non-human craniofacial complex.