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Research at St Andrews

Indirect genetic effects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Rafael L. Rodríguez, Darren Rebar, Nathan W. Bailey

School/Research organisations


The concept of Indirect Genetic Effects (IGEs) captures the insight that trait expression often receives inputs not only from the genotype of the bearer of the trait (the focal individual), but also from the phenotype of other individuals with whom the focal individual interacts. This concept is intuitive if we consider behavior: how an animal acts is often influenced to some degree by how other individuals around it behave. Consequently, an animal’s behavior is not only shaped by inputs from its own genotype, but also from the genotypes of those other individuals. The variety of traits that exhibit this architecture is surprisingly large, including not only many behaviors but also morphological and life history traits, and the relevant inputs can arise not only from behavioral interactions but also from ecological relationships. Taking into account this broader view of trait architecture brings insight into how phenotypic and genetic evolution proceed.



Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780128132517
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • Behavioral flexibility, Causes of variation, Experience-mediated plasticity, Interacting phenotypes, Interaction coefficient, Phenotypic plasticity, Psi, Quantitative genetics, Runaway, Sexual selection, Social selection

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