New article:

Heritability and genetic correlations of personality, life history and morphology in the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)

The recent interest in animal personality has sparked a number of studies on the heritability of personality traits. Yet, how the sources variance these traits can be decomposed remains unclear. Moreover, whether genetic correlations with life-history traits, personality traits and other phenotypic traits exist as predicted by the pace-of-life syndrome hypothesis remains poorly understood. Our aim was to compare the heritability of personality, life-history and morphological traits and their potential genetic correlations in a small primate (Microcebus murinus). We performed an animal model analysis on six traits measured in a large sample of captive mouse lemurs (N = 486). We chose two personality traits, two life-history traits and two morphological traits to (i) estimate the genetic and/or environmental contribution to their variance, and (ii) test for genetic correlations between these traits. We found modest narrow-sense heritability for personality traits, morphological traits and life-history traits. Other factors including maternal effects also influence the sources of variation in life-history and morphological traits. We found genetic correlations between emergence latency on the one hand and radius length and growth rate on the other hand. Emergence latency was also genetically correlated with birth weight and was influenced by maternal identity. These results provide insights into the influence of genes and maternal effects on the partitioning of sources of variation in personality, life-history and morphological traits in a captive primate model and suggest that the pace-of-life syndrome may be partly explained by genetic trait covariances.

Figure 1. Photograph of captive grey mouse lemurs in the Brunoy colony.

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