Indirect genetic effects increase heritability estimates for male and female extra-pair reproduction

Sarah Dobson, Jamie Dunning*, Terry Burke, Janet Chik, Julia Schroeder

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

1 Citaat (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


The question of why females engage in extra-pair behaviors is long-standing in evolutionary biology. One suggestion is that these behaviors are maintained through pleiotropic effects on male extra-pair behaviors (genes controlling extra-pair reproduction are shared between sexes, but only beneficial to one sex, in this case, males). However, for this to evolve extra-pair reproduction must be both heritable and positively genetically correlated between sexes. Previous studies have suggested low heritability with no evidence for between-sex genetic correlations in extra-pair reproduction. However, these have not considered indirect genetic effects (derived from the behavior of others, IGEs) from the social partner, the influence of the social partner’s genotype on the phenotype of an individual, despite the potential of IGEs to uncover hidden heritable variation. Using data from a closed-house sparrow population with a genetic pedigree spanning two decades, we tested the influence of social partner IGEs on heritable variation and genetic correlation estimates of extra-pair reproduction. We found that the inclusion of IGEs resulted in larger heritable genetic variance for both male and female extra-pair heritability. While IGEs did not change between-sex genetic correlations, we found they reduced uncertainty in those estimates. Future studies should consider the effect of IGEs on the mechanisms of sex-specific extra-pair reproduction.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1893–1901
Aantal pagina's9
Nummer van het tijdschrift8
StatusPublished - 12-jun.-2023

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