Genetic and phenotypic component in head shape of common wall lizard Podarcis muralis

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Head shape in lizards correlates with a wide range of environmental pressures, supporting the hypothesis that patterns of phenotypic change represent adaptive responses to selective processes. However, natural selection promotes evolutionary adaptation only if the trait under selection has enough heritable variation. In this study we used geometric morphometrics and quantitative genetics to assess the heritability patterns of the head shape and size of common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis). Genetic and phenotypic components were estimated using animal models, which showed that more than half of the variation in head morphology is inheritable. Furthermore, at least five independent patterns of genetically determined phenotypic change were detected. These outcomes confirm that morphological differentiation in common wall lizards may reliably be regarded as the result of adaptive processes driven by natural selection.

Genetic and phenotypic component in head shape of common wall lizard Podarcis muralis

in Amphibia-Reptilia



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    Location of the 13 landmarks used to quantify dorsal head shape of mothers (a) and offspring (b).

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    Eigenvalues of the P, G and M variance covariance matrices.

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    Comparison of phenotypic change of head shape according to the first three PC for the P, G, and M variance covariance matrices. The arrows illustrate the shape evolution from positive to negative values along PCs.

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    Eigenvalues of the GP−1 and GM−1 matrices with the 95% confidence interval after 999 bootstraps.

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    Phenotypic change associated to the first five eigenvectors of the GP−1 matrix (E1 to E5), displaying the heritable pattern of variation in head shape of common wall lizard. The values reported below the images correspond to the eigenvalues, which estimate the h2 coefficient for the corresponding pattern of phenotypic change. The arrows visualize shape evolution from positive to negative values along each eigenvector.

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    Density distribution of the logarithm of the centroid size for the common wall lizard offspring. The line represents a density kernel.

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