The extension of classical quantitative genetics to deal with function- valued characters (also called infinite-dimensional characters) such as growth curves, mortality curves, and reaction norms, was begun by Kirkpatrick and co-workers. In this theory, the analogs of variance components for single traits are covariance functions for function-valued traits. In the approach presented here, we employ a variety of parametric models for covariance functions that have a number of desirable properties: the functions (1) are positive definite, (2) can be estimated using procedures like those currently used for single traits, (3) have a small number of parameters, and (4) allow simple hypotheses to be easily tested. The methods are illustrated using data from a large experiment that examined the effects of spontaneous mutations on age-specific mortality rates in Drosophila melanogaster. Our methods are shown to work better than a standard multivariate analysis, which assumes the character value at each age is a distinct character. Advantages over existing methods that model covariance functions as a series of orthogonal polynomials are discussed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - Oct 1999|