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Genetic Correlations among Morphometric Traits and Rates of Growth and Differentiation in the Green Tree Frog, Hyla cinerea

Michael S. Blouin
Evolution
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Jun., 1992), pp. 735-744
DOI: 10.2307/2409641
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409641
Page Count: 10
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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.
Genetic Correlations among Morphometric Traits and Rates of Growth and Differentiation in the Green Tree Frog, Hyla cinerea
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Abstract

It is often proposed that the morphometric shape of animals often evolves as a correlated response to selection on life-history traits such as whole-body growth and differentiation rates. However, there exists little empirical information on whether selection on rates of growth or differentiation in animals could generate correlated response in morphometric shape beyond that owing to the correlation between these rates and body size. In this study genetic correlations were estimated among growth rate, differentiation rate, and body-size-adjusted head width in the green tree frog, Hyla cinerea. Head width was adjusted for size by using the residuals from log-log regressions of head width on snout-vent length. Size-adjusted head width at metamorphosis was positively genetically correlated with larval period length. Thus, size-independent shape might evolve as a correlated response to selection on a larval life-history trait. Larval growth rate was not significantly genetically correlated with size-adjusted head width. An additional morphometric trait, size-adjusted tibiofibula length, had a nonnormal distribution of breeding values, and so was not included in the analysis of genetic correlations (offspring from one sire had unusually short legs). This result is interesting because, although using genetic covariance matrices to predict long-term multivariate response to selection depends on the assumption that all loci follow a multivariate Gaussian distribution of allelic effects, few data are available on the distribution of breeding values for traits in wild populations. Size at metamorphosis was positively genetically correlated with larval period and larval growth rate. Quickly growing larvae that delay metamorphosis therefore emerge at a large size. The genetic correlation between larval growth rate and juvenile (postmetamorphic) growth rate was near zero. Growth rate may therefore be an example of a fitness-related trait that is free to evolve in one stage of a complex life cycle without pleiotropic constraints on the same trait expressed in the other stage.

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