A TEST FOR THE GENETIC BASIS OF NATURAL SELECTION: AN INDIVIDUAL-BASED LONGITUDINAL STUDY IN A STREAM-DWELLING FISH

Authors


Abstract

In addition to the well-studied evolutionary parameters of (1) phenotype-fitness covariance and (2) the genetic basis of phenotypic variation, adaptive evolution by natural selection requires that (3) fitness variation is effected by heritable genetic differences among individuals and (4) phenotype-fitness covariances must be, at least in part, underlain by genetic covariances. These latter two requirements for adaptive evolutionary change are relatively unstudied in natural populations. Absence of the latter requirements could explain stasis of apparently directionally selected heritable traits. We provide complementary analyses of selection and variation at phenotypic and genetic levels for juvenile growth rate in brook charr Salvelinus fontinalis in Freshwater River, Newfoundland, Canada. Contrary to the vast majority of reports in fish, we found very little viability selection of juvenile body size. Large body size appears nonetheless to be selectively advantageous via a relationship with early maturity. Genetic patterns in evolutionary parameters largely reflected phenotypic patterns. We have provided inference of selection based on longitudinal data, which are uncommon in high fecundity organisms. Furthermore we have provided a practicable framework for further studies of the genetic basis of natural selection.

Ancillary