Sex-specific genetic variances in life-history and morphological traits of the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus


  • Funded by a grant (2006-325) from Formas (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning) to MB.

Lára R. Hallsson, Norbyvägen 18D, 75236 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail:


Knowledge of heritability and genetic correlations are of central importance in the study of adaptive trait evolution and genetic constraints. We use a paternal half-sib-full-sib breeding design to investigate the genetic architecture of three life-history and morphological traits in the seed beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus. Heritability was significant for all traits under observation and genetic correlations between traits (r A) were low. Interestingly, we found substantial sex-specific genetic effects and low genetic correlations between sexes (r MF) in traits that are only moderately (weight at emergence) to slightly (longevity) sexually dimorphic. Furthermore, we found an increased sire (inline image) compared to dam (inline image) variance component within trait and sex. Our results highlight that the genetic architecture even of the same trait should not be assumed to be the same for males and females. Furthermore, it raises the issue of the presence of unnoticed environmental effects that may inflate estimates of heritability. Overall, our study stresses the fact that estimates of quantitative genetic parameters are not only population, time, environment, but also sex specific. Thus, extrapolation between sexes and studies should be treated with caution.