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Epistasis and the Effect of Founder Events on the Additive Genetic Variance

Charles J. Goodnight
Evolution
Vol. 42, No. 3 (May, 1988), pp. 441-454
DOI: 10.2307/2409030
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409030
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Epistasis and the Effect of Founder Events on the Additive Genetic Variance
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Abstract

Models of founder events have focused on the reduction in the genetic variation following a founder event. However, recent work (Bryant et al., 1986; Goodnight, 1987) suggests that when there is epistatic genetic variance in a population, the total genetic variance within demes may actually increase following a founder event. Since the additive genetic variance is a statistical property of a population and can change with the level of inbreeding, some of the epistatic genetic variance may be converted to additive genetic variance during a founder event. The model presented here demonstrates that some of the additive-by-additive epistatic genetic variance is converted to additive genetic variance following a founder event. Furthermore, the amount of epistasis converted to additive genetic variance is a function of the recombination rate and the propagule size. For a single founder event of two individuals, as much as 75% of the epistatic variance in the ancestral population may become additive genetic variance following the founder event. For founder events involving two individuals with free recombination, the relative contribution of epistasis to the additive genetic variance following a founder event is equal to its proportion of the total genetic variance prior to the founder event. Traits closely related to fitness are expected to have relatively little additive genetic variance but may have substantial nonadditive genetic variance. Founder events may be important in the evolution of fitness traits, not because they lead to a reduction in the genetic variance, but rather because they lead to an increase in the additive genetic variance.

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