Quantitative traits-be they morphological or physiological characters, aspects of behavior, or genome-level features such as the amount of RNA or protein expression for a specific gene-usually show considerable variation within and among populations. Quantitative genetics, also referred to as the genetics of complex traits, is the study of such characters and is based on mathematical models of evolution in which many genes influence the trait and in which non-genetic
factors may also be important.
Evolution and Selection of Quantitative Traits presents a holistic treatment of the subject, showing the interplay between theory and data with extensive discussions on statistical issues relating to the estimation of the biologically relevant parameters for these models. Quantitative genetics is viewed as the bridge between complex mathematical models of trait evolution and real-world data, and the authors have clearly framed their treatment as such. This is the second volume in a
planned trilogy that summarizes the modern field of quantitative genetics, informed by empirical observations from wide-ranging fields (agriculture, evolution, ecology, and human biology) as well as population genetics, statistical theory, mathematical modeling, genetics, and genomics. Whilst volume 1 (1998)
dealt with the genetics of such traits, the main focus of volume 2 is on their evolution, with a special emphasis on detecting selection (ranging from the use of genomic and historical data through to ecological field data) and examining its consequences.
Bruce Walsh is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. He has taught advanced classes on quantitative genetics in 25 different countries and his research interests are at the interface of biology, genetics, mathematical modelling, and statistics. He is also an avid lepidopterist, having described over two dozen species of new moths and has three species named after him.
Michael Lynch is Professor in the Schoool of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and is Center Director of the Biodesign Center for Mechanims of Evolution. His research is focused on mechanisms of evolution at the gene, genomic, cellular, and phenotypic levels, with special attention being given to the roles of mutation, random genetic drift, and recombination. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and