Population Biology and Evolution

Part of the series Proceedings in Life Sciences pp 67-79

Quantitative Genetics in Natural Populations of Birds Illustrated with Examples from the Great Tit, Parus major

  • A. J. van NoordwijkAffiliated withDepartment of Population, Evolutionary Biology, UniversityInstitute for Ecological Research

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There are many reasons to study quantitative genetics in natural populations, and birds have the great advantage that pedigrees can be determined easily in natural populations. Therefore, it is not surprising that nearly all quantitative genetic studies where the observations were made in the natural environment of the study species concern birds. This is important because the environment in which the observations have been made is very critical in quantitative genetic studies. At the same time, natural environments and natural breeding systems pose several methodological problems and in general the conditions are not optimal for efficient estimation of parameters.