We combine the methods of geometric morphometrics and multivariate quantitative genetics to study the patterns of phenotypic and genetic variation of mandible shape in random-bred mice. The data are the positions of 11 landmarks on the mandibles of 1241 mice from a parent-offspring breeding design. We use Procrustes superimposition to extract shape variation and restricted maximum likelihood to estimate the additive genetic and environmental components of variance and covariance. Matrix permutation tests showed that the genetic and phenotypic as well as the genetic and environmental covariance matrices were similar, but not identical. Likewise, principal component analyses revealed correspondence in the patterns of phenotypic and genetic variation. Patterns revealed in these analyses also showed similarities to features previously found in the effects of quantitative trait loci and in the phenotypes generated in gene knockout experiments. We used the multivariate version of the breeders' equation to explore the potential for short-term response to selection on shape. In general, the correlated response is substantial and regularly exceeds the direct response: Selection applied locally to one landmark usually produces a response in other parts of the mandible as well. Moreover, even selection for shifts of the same landmark in different directions can yield dramatically different responses. These results demonstrate the role of the geometry and anatomical structure of the mandible, which are key determinants of the patterns of the genetic and phenotypic covariance matrices, in molding the potential for adaptive evolution.
Corresponding Editor: J. Merilä