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Keywords:

  • correlated responses;
  • quantitative genetics;
  • selection;
  • threshold trait;
  • trade-offs

The quantitative genetic basis of traits can be determined using a pedigree analysis or a selection experiment. Each approach is valuable and the combined data can contribute more than either method alone. Analysis using both sib analysis and selection is particularly essential when there are likely to be nonlinearities in the functional relationships among traits. A class of traits for which this occurs is that of threshold traits, which are characterized by a dichotomous phenotype that is determined by a threshold of sensitivity and a continuously distributed underlying trait called the liability. In this case, traits that are correlated with the liability may show a nonlinear relationship due to the dichotomy of expression at the phenotypic level. For example, in wing dimorphic insects fecundity of the macropterous (long-winged) females appears in part to be determined by the allocation of resources to the flight muscles, which are almost invariably small or absent in the micropterous (short-winged, flightless) females. Pedigree analysis of the cricket Gryllus firmus has shown that wing morph, fecundity and the trade-off between the two have additive genetic (co)variance. It has also been shown that selection on proportion macroptery produced an asymmetric correlated response of fecundity. The present paper details the results of direct selection on fecundity and the correlated response in proportion macroptery. Selection for increased fecundity resulted in increased fecundity within both wing morphs and a correlated decrease in proportion macroptery. Similarly, selection for decreased fecundity resulted in a decrease within morphs and a correlated increase in the proportion of macropterous females. This provides additional evidence that the trade-off between fecundity and wing morphology has a genetic basis and will thus modulate the evolution of the two traits.