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  • 1. Gavrus-Ion, Alina
    et al.
    Sjøvold, Torstein
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Osteology Unit.
    Hernandez, Miguel
    Gonzalez-Jose, Rolando
    Esteban Torne, Maria Esther
    Martinez-Abadias, Neus
    Esparza, Mireia
    Measuring fitness heritability: Life history traits versus morphological traits in humans2017In: American Journal of Physical Anthropology, ISSN 0002-9483, E-ISSN 1096-8644, Vol. 164, no 2, p. 321-330Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objectives

    Traditional interpretation of Fisher's Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection is that life history traits (LHT), which are closely related with fitness, show lower heritabilities, whereas morphological traits (MT) are less related with fitness and they are expected to show higher heritabilities. In humans, although few studies have examined the heritability of LHT and MT, none of them have analyzed the same sample for comparative purposes. Here we assessed, for the first time, the heritability, additive genetic variance (VA), residual variance (VR) and coefficient of genetic additive variation (CVA) values of LHT and MT in a singular collection of identified skulls with associated demographic records from Hallstatt (Austria).

    Materials and Methods

    LHT, such as lifespan, number of offspring, age at birth of first and last child, reproductive span, and lifetime reproductive success, were estimated from 18,134 individuals from the Hallstatt Catholic parish records, which represent seven generations and correspond to a time span of 400 years. MT were assessed through 17 craniofacial indices and 7 angles obtained from 355 adult crania from the same population. Heritability, VA, VR, and CVA values of LHT and MT were calculated using restricted maximum likelihood methods.

    Results

    LHT heritabilities ranged from 2.3 to 34% for the whole sample, with men showing higher heritabilities (4–45%) than women (0-23.7%). Overall, MT presented higher heritability values than most of LHT, ranging from 0 to 40.5% in craniofacial indices, and from 13.8 to 32.4% in craniofacial angles. LHT showed considerable additive genetic variance values, similar to MT, but also high environmental variance values, and most of them presenting a higher evolutionary potential than MT.

    Discussion

    Our results demonstrate that, with the exception of lifespan, LHT show lower heritability values, than MT. The lower heritability of LHT is explained by a higher influence of environmental and cultural factors.

  • 2. Hünemeier, Tábita
    et al.
    Gómez-Valdés, Jorge
    Ballesteros-Romero, Mónica
    de Azevedo, Soledad
    Martínez-Abadías, Neus
    Esparza, Mireia
    Sjøvold, Torstein
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Osteology Unit.
    Bonatto, Sandro L.
    Salzano, Francisco Mauro
    Bortolini, Maria Cátira
    González-José, Rolando
    Cultural diversification promotes rapid phenotypic evolution in Xavante Indians2012In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 109, no 1, p. 73-77Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Shifts in social structure and cultural practices can potentially promote unusual combinations of allele frequencies that drive the evolution of genetic and phenotypic novelties during human evolution. These cultural practices act in combination with geographical and linguistic barriers and can promote faster evolutionary changes shaped by gene-culture interactions. However, specific cases indicative of this interaction are scarce. Here we show that quantitative genetic parameters obtained from cephalometric data taken on 1,203 individuals analyzed in combination with genetic, climatic, social, and life-history data belonging to six South Amerindian populations are compatible with a scenario of rapid genetic and phenotypic evolution, probably mediated by cultural shifts. We found that the Xavante experienced a remarkable pace of evolution: the rate of morphological change is far greater than expected for its time of split from their sister group, the Kayapo, which occurred around 1,500 y ago. We also suggest that this rapid differentiation was possible because of strong social-organization differences. Our results demonstrate how human groups deriving from a recent common ancestor can experience variable paces of phenotypic divergence, probably as a response to different cultural or social determinants. We suggest that assembling composite databases involving cultural and biological data will be of key importance to unravel cases of evolution modulated by the cultural environment.

  • 3. Martínez-Abadías, Neus
    et al.
    Esparza, Mireia
    Sjøvold, Torstein
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Osteology Unit.
    González-José, Rolando
    Santos, Mauro
    Hernández, Miquel
    Klingenberg, Christian Peter
    PERVASIVE GENETIC INTEGRATION DIRECTS THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN SKULL SHAPE2012In: Evolution, ISSN 0014-3820, E-ISSN 1558-5646, Vol. 66, no 4, p. 1010-1023Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    It has long been unclear whether the different derived cranial traits of modern humans evolved independently in response to separate selection pressures or whether they resulted from the inherent morphological integration throughout the skull. In a novel approach to this issue, we combine evolutionary quantitative genetics and geometric morphometrics to analyze genetic and phenotypic integration in human skull shape. We measured human skulls in the ossuary of Hallstatt (Austria), which offer a unique opportunity because they are associated with genealogical data. Our results indicate pronounced covariation of traits throughout the skull. Separate simulations of selection for localized shape changes corresponding to some of the principal derived characters of modern human skulls produced outcomes that were similar to each other and involved a joint response in all of these traits. The data for both genetic and phenotypic shape variation were not consistent with the hypothesis that the face, cranial base, and cranial vault are completely independent modules but relatively strongly integrated structures. These results indicate pervasive integration in the human skull and suggest a reinterpretation of the selective scenario for human evolution where the origin of any one of the derived characters may have facilitated the evolution of the others.

  • 4. Martínez-Abadías, Neus
    et al.
    Mitteroecker, Philipp
    Parsons, Trish E.
    Esparza, Mireia
    Sjøvold, Torstein
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Osteology Unit.
    Rolian, Campbell
    Richtsmeier, Joan T.
    Hallgrímsson, Benedikt
    The Developmental Basis of Quantitative Craniofacial Variation in Humans and Mice2012In: Evolutionary biology, ISSN 0071-3260, E-ISSN 1934-2845, Vol. 39, no 4, p. 554-567Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The human skull is a complex and highly integrated structure that has long held the fascination of anthropologists and evolutionary biologists. Recent studies of the genetics of craniofacial variation reveal a very complex and multifactorial picture. These findings contrast with older ideas that posit much simpler developmental bases for variation in cranial morphology such as the growth of the brain or the growth of the chondrocranium relative to the dermatocranium. Such processes have been shown to have major effects on cranial morphology in mice. It is not known, however, whether they are relevant to explaining normal phenotypic variation in humans. To answer this question, we obtained vectors of shape change from mutant mouse models in which the developmental basis for the craniofacial phenotype is known to varying degrees, and compared these to a homologous dataset constructed from human crania obtained from a single population with a known genealogy. Our results show that the shape vectors associated with perturbations to chondrocranial growth, brain growth, and body size in mice do largely correspond to axes of covariation in humans. This finding supports the view that the developmental basis for craniofacial variation funnels down to a relatively small number of key developmental processes that are similar across mice and humans. Understanding these processes and how they influence craniofacial shape provides fundamental insights into the developmental basis for evolutionary change in the human skull as well as the developmental-genetic basis for normal phenotypic variation in craniofacial form.

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