Genetics Unplugged:

When 1 plus 1 is not always 2

Genetic variation is the basis of the diversity we observe in traits among individuals and across generations. When parents transmit their advantageous genes to their offspring, whether these genes will result in desirable traits depends on their independence or dependence on the overall genetic makeup. In the former scenario, we refer to them as "heritable" genetic components. Identifying these heritable genetic components is the major objective of breeders who utilize the framework of quantitative genetics. They need to predict the extent to which the traits of interest can be inherited from parents to offspring. Essentially, the heritability of a specific trait rests upon the degree of dependence of these 'good' components on the genetic background.

Planter’s Punch

Under the heading Planter’s Punch we present each month one special aspect of the CEPLAS research programme. All contributions are prepared by our early career researchers.

About the author

Nhu Tran is originally from Vietnam and came to the Netherlands for her BSc in Molecular Biology. She did an intern at the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research Leipzig in plant defense during root herbivory in Brassica rapa and her bachelor's thesis at IPK Gatersleben on a novel transcription factor controlling cell growth in A. thaliana. Currently, as a PhD at CEPLAS, her study aims to unravel the heritability of transcriptomic variation in A. lyrata. When she is not immersed in research, she finds relaxation in playing the violin and reading. 

Further Reading

Bruce Walsh. How full is the evolutionary fuel tank? Science 376,920-921(2022)

Leder EH, McCairns RJ, Leinonen T, Cano JM, Viitaniemi HM, Nikinmaa M, Primmer CR, Merilä J. The evolution and adaptive potential of transcriptional variation in sticklebacks-signatures of selection and widespread heritability Mol Biol Evol. 2015 Mar;32(3):674-89.