The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


Quantitative genetic variation and selection on skull shape in humans

NEUS MARTÍNEZ-ABADÍAS1,2, MIREIA ESPARZA1, TORSTEIN SJØVOLD3, MIQUEL HERNÁNDEZ1 and CHRISTIAN PETER. KLINGENBERG4.

1Department de Biologia Animal, Secció d’Antropologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 2Systems Analysis of Development, Centre de Regulació Genòmica, Barcelona, Spain, 3Osteologiska enheten, Stockholms Universitet, Stockholm, Sweden, 4Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

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Quantitative genetics is an important field of application for geometric morphometrics because it provides information that key for many important questions concerning the evolution of shape. In particular, the demographic information that is available for human populations make humans a unique study system. We investigate skull shape in the population of Hallstatt (Austria), where a collection of human skulls with associated records offer a unique opportunity for such studies. We use an individual-based statistical model to estimate the genetic covariance matrix, and characterize selection using fitness estimates from demographic data. We find clear evidence for directional selection, but not for nonlinear selection (stabilizing or disruptive selection). The predicted response to this selection, computed with genetic parameters from the population, does not match the estimate of secular change over the approximately 150-year range of the data. We discuss possible reasons for the mismatch.

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