Indirect genetic effects and the dynamics of social interactions Journal Article

Author(s): Trubenová, Barbora; Novak, Sebastian; Hager, Reinmar
Article Title: Indirect genetic effects and the dynamics of social interactions
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: Background: Indirect genetic effects (IGEs) occur when genes expressed in one individual alter the expression of traits in social partners. Previous studies focused on the evolutionary consequences and evolutionary dynamics of IGEs, using equilibrium solutions to predict phenotypes in subsequent generations. However, whether or not such steady states may be reached may depend on the dynamics of interactions themselves. Results: In our study, we focus on the dynamics of social interactions and indirect genetic effects and investigate how they modify phenotypes over time. Unlike previous IGE studies, we do not analyse evolutionary dynamics; rather we consider within-individual phenotypic changes, also referred to as phenotypic plasticity. We analyse iterative interactions, when individuals interact in a series of discontinuous events, and investigate the stability of steady state solutions and the dependence on model parameters, such as population size, strength, and the nature of interactions. We show that for interactions where a feedback loop occurs, the possible parameter space of interaction strength is fairly limited, affecting the evolutionary consequences of IGEs. We discuss the implications of our results for current IGE model predictions and their limitations.
Keywords: Phenotype; prediction; phenotypic plasticity; article; controlled study; population size; Social interaction; Indirect genetic effect; genetic parameters; steady state; behavioral science; social environment; social evolution
Journal Title: PLoS One
Volume: 10
Issue 5
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publisher: Public Library of Science  
Date Published: 2015-05-18
Start Page: Article number: e0126907
Copyright Statement: CC BY 4.0
Sponsor: This work was supported by The University of Manchester.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126907
Notes: We would like to thank Tucker Gilman, Alastair Wilson and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on a previous draft of this manuscript.
Open access: yes (OA journal)