TitleHierarchical comparison of genetic variance-covariance matrices. I. Using the Flury hierarchy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsPhillips, PC, Arnold, SJ
KeywordsFlury hierarchy genetic correlation matrix comparisons principal components analysis quantitative genetics randomization test statistical resampling common principal components quantitative genetics morphological-differentiation phenotypic evolution param

The comparison of additive genetic variance-covariance matrices (G-matrices) is an increasingly popular exercise in evolutionary biology because the evolution of the C-matrix is central to the issue of persistence of genetic constraints and to the use of dynamic models in an evolutionary time frame. The comparison of G-matrices is a nontrivial statistical problem because family structure induces nonindependence among the elements in each matrix. Past solutions to the problem of G-matrix comparison have dealt with this problem, with varying success, but have tested a single null hypothesis (matrix equality or matrix dissimilarity). Because matrices can differ in many ways, several hypotheses are of interest in matrix comparisons. Flury (1988) has provided an approach to matrix comparison in which a variety of hypotheses are tested, including the two extreme hypotheses prevalent in the evolutionary literature. The hypotheses are arranged in a hierarchy and involve comparisons of both the principal components (eigenvectors) and eigenvalues of the matrix. We adapt Flury's hierarchy of tests to the problem of comparing G-matrices by using randomization testing to account for nonindependence induced by family structure. Software has been developed for carrying out this analysis for both genetic and phenotypic data. The method is illustrated with a garter snake test case.