Open Access

Analysis of response to 20 generations of selection for body composition in mice: fit to infinitesimal model assumptions

Genetics Selection Evolution200032:3

DOI: 10.1186/1297-9686-32-1-3

Received: 26 April 1999

Accepted: 2 December 1999

Published: 15 January 2000


Data were analysed from a divergent selection experiment for an indicator of body composition in the mouse, the ratio of gonadal fat pad to body weight (GFPR). Lines were selected for 20 generations for fat (F), lean (L) or were unselected (C), with three replicates of each. Selection was within full-sib families, 16 families per replicate for the first seven generations, eight subsequently. At generation 20, GFPR in the F lines was twice and in the L lines half that of C. A log transformation removed both asymmetry of response and heterogeneity of variance among lines, and so was used throughout. Estimates of genetic variance and heritability (approximately 50%) obtained using REML with an animal model were very similar, whether estimated from the first few generations of selection, or from all 20 generations, or from late generations having fitted pedigree. The estimates were also similar when estimated from selected or control lines. Estimates from REML also agreed with estimates of realised heritability. The results all accord with expectations under the infinitesimal model, despite the four-fold changes in mean. Relaxed selection lines, derived from generation 20, showed little regression in fatness after 40 generations without selection.


selection infinitesimal model genetic variance body composition mouse

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Authors’ Affiliations

Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2000