Genetic architecture supports mosaic brain evolution and independent brain-body size regulation

Reinmar Hager, Lu Lu, Glenn D. Rosen, Robert Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The mammalian brain consists of distinct parts that fulfil different functions. Finlay and Darlington have argued that evolution of the mammalian brain is constrained by developmental programs, suggesting that different brain parts are not free to respond individually to selection and evolve independent of other parts or overall brain size. However, comparisons among mammals with matched brain weights often reveal greater differences in brain part size, arguing against strong developmental constraints. Here we test these hypotheses using a quantitative genetic approach involving over 10,000 mice. We identify independent loci for size variation in seven key parts of the brain, and observe that brain parts show low or no phenotypic correlation, as is predicted by a mosaic scenario. We also demonstrate that variation in brain size is independently regulated from body size. The allometric relations seen at higher phylogenetic levels are thus unlikely to be the product of strong developmental constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1079
JournalNature Communications
Volume3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 8 2012

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Body Size
brain
Brain
mammals
Mammals
loci
mice
Weights and Measures
products

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Genetic architecture supports mosaic brain evolution and independent brain-body size regulation. / Hager, Reinmar; Lu, Lu; Rosen, Glenn D.; Williams, Robert.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 3, 1079, 08.10.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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