Variation in the peacock’s train shows a heritable component

Petrie, Marion and Cotgreave, Peter and Pike, Thomas W. (2009) Variation in the peacock’s train shows a heritable component. Genetica, 135 (1). pp. 7-11. ISSN 0016-6707

Documents
Genetica2009.pdf
[img]
[Download]
Request a copy
[img] PDF
Genetica2009.pdf - Whole Document
Restricted to Repository staff only

150Kb

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10709-007-9211-0

Abstract

Female peafowl (Pavo cristatus) show a strong mating preference for males with elaborate trains. This, however, poses something of a paradox because intense directional selection should erode genetic variation in the males' trains, so that females will no longer benefit by discriminating among males on the basis of these traits. This situation is known as the 'lek paradox', and leads to the theoretical expectation of low heritability in the peacock's train. We used two independent breeding experiments, involving a total of 42 sires and 86 of their male offspring, to estimate the narrow sense heritabilities of male ornaments and other morphometric traits. Contrary to expectation, we found significant levels of heritability in a trait known to be used by females during mate choice (train length), while no significant heritabilities were evident for other, non-fitness related morphological traits (tarsus length, body weight or spur length). This study adds to the building body of evidence that high levels of additive genetic variance can exist in secondary sexual traits under directional selection, but further emphasizes the main problem of what maintains this variation.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Female peafowl (Pavo cristatus) show a strong mating preference for males with elaborate trains. This, however, poses something of a paradox because intense directional selection should erode genetic variation in the males' trains, so that females will no longer benefit by discriminating among males on the basis of these traits. This situation is known as the 'lek paradox', and leads to the theoretical expectation of low heritability in the peacock's train. We used two independent breeding experiments, involving a total of 42 sires and 86 of their male offspring, to estimate the narrow sense heritabilities of male ornaments and other morphometric traits. Contrary to expectation, we found significant levels of heritability in a trait known to be used by females during mate choice (train length), while no significant heritabilities were evident for other, non-fitness related morphological traits (tarsus length, body weight or spur length). This study adds to the building body of evidence that high levels of additive genetic variance can exist in secondary sexual traits under directional selection, but further emphasizes the main problem of what maintains this variation.
Keywords:Lek paradox, Narrow sense heritability, Fitness-related traits, Additive genetic variation
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:4426
Deposited By: Tom Pike
Deposited On:14 Apr 2011 17:05
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:59

Repository Staff Only: item control page