TitleHierarchical comparison of genetic variance-covariance matrices. II. Coastal-inland divergence in the garter snake, Thamnophis elegans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsArnold, SJ, Phillips, PC
JournalEvolution
Volume53
Pagination1516-1527
KeywordsFlury hierarchy genetic correlation matrix comparisons quantitative genetics snakes quantitative genetics natural-populations phenotypic evolution behavioral variation morphological-differentiation morphometric correlation drosophila-melanogaster phylogen
Abstract

The time-scale for the evolution of additive genetic variance-covariance matrices (G-matrices) is a crucial issue in evolutionary biology. If the evolution of G-matrices is slow enough, we can use standard multivariate equations to model drift and selection response on evolutionary time scales. We compared the G-matrices for meristic traits in two populations of garter snakes (Thanmnophis elegans) with an apparent separation time of 2 million years. Despite considerable divergence in the meristic traits, foraging habits, and diet, these populations show conservation of structure in their G-matrices. Using Flury's hierarchial approach to matrix comparisons, we found that the populations have retained the principal components (eigenvectors) of their G-matrices, but their eigenvalues have diverged. In contrast, we were unable to reject the hypothesis of equal environmental matrices (E-matrices) for these populations. We propose that a conserved pattern of multivariate stabilizing selection may have contributed to conservation of G- and E-matrix structure during the divergence of these populations.