This tutorial examines Darwin’s finches: a good example of the kind of character studied by quantitative genetics. We move on to the theoretical apparatus used to analyse characters controlled by large numbers of unidentified genes. The influences on these characters are divided into environmental and genetic, and the genetic influences are divided into those that are inherited and influence the form of the offspring and those that are not. With the theoretical apparatus in place, we can apply some evolutionary evolutionary questions in both artificial and natural examples.
- What has driven the evolution of beak sizes in Darwin's finches?
- Why do some characters have a 'bell curve' distribution?
- How can we measure genetic and environmental effects?
- What statistical tools are used by quantitative geneticists?
- Are relatives always alike?
- What exactly is heritability?
- How can quantitative genetics be applied?