Quantitative genetic models for genomic imprinting
Santure, Anna Wensley
A gene is imprinted when its expression is dependent on the sex of the parent from which it was inherited. An increasing number of studies are suggesting that imprinted genes have a major influence on medically, agriculturally and evolutionarily important traits, such as disease severity and livestock production traits. While some genes have a large effect on the traits of an individual, quantitative characters such as height are influenced by many genes and by the environment, including maternal effects. The interaction between these genes and the environment produces variation in the characteristics of individuals. Many quantitative characters are likely to be influenced by a small number of imprinted genes, but at present there is no general theoretical model of the quantitative genetics of imprinting incorporating multiple loci, environmental effects and maternal effects. This research develops models for the quantitative genetics of imprinting incorporating these effects, including deriving expressions for genetic variation and resemblances between relatives. Imprinting introduces both parent-of-origin and generation dependent differences in the derivation of standard quantitative genetic models that are generally equivalent under Mendelian expression. Further, factors such as epistasis, maternal effects and interactions between genotype and environment may mask the effect of imprinting in a quantitative trait. Maternal effects may also mimic a number of signatures in variance and covariance components that are expected in a population with genomic imprinting. This research allows a more comprehensive understanding of the processes influencing an individual’s characteristics.
Advisor: Spencer, Hamish
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Zoology
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis