Abstracts (first author)
The genomic architecture of morphological, life history and fitness traits in two long term wild populations of great tits (Parus major) - can we find evidence for genes of major effect?
Currently there is much debate, yet relatively little empirical data, on the nature of genetic architecture of quantitative traits in wild populations. Where is additive genetic variation located in the genome? Is trait variation influenced by many genes of small effect distributed throughout the genome, or by a few genes of major effect? Do the same loci cause phenotypic variation in different populations? Great tits (Parus major) have been studied extensively in long-term studies across Europe, and are consequently considered an ecological 'model organism'. Recently, a large number of genomic resources have been developed for the great tit, including a genetic linkage map with 5,500 SNPs. In this study, we use three different marker-based approaches (partitioning of additive genetic variance across genomic regions, pedigree-based quantitative trait locus mapping and genome wide association scans) to investigate the genetic architecture of morphological, life history and fitness traits in two long-term study populations of great tit - one in The Netherlands, and the other in the United Kingdom. We demonstrate that for most quantitative traits there is little evidence of genes of major effect, and that the two populations share very similar genomic architectures.