A genetic perspective on intraspecific interactions

Extra CEES seminar by Jason Wolf.


A major focus of evolutionary quantitative genetics is on understanding the relative importance of genetic versus environmental sources of variation, with an ultimate goal of understanding phenotypic evolution. However, while appealingly simple, the distinction between genetic (heritable) and environmental (non-heritable) influences is blurred when one considers the social environment provided by conspecifics. This is because the social environment differs from other types of environmental influences in that it can have a genetic basis, be heritable and therefore evolve. I'll present a simple model that illustrates the evolutionary importance of social effects and then use this model to help interpret the results from experiments in two study systems: the genetics of interactions in Arabidopsis and the relationship between behavior and morphology in a spider system.

Published Feb. 2, 2012 3:26 PM