Probability and Statistics Seminar   RSS

05/02/2004, 14:30 — 15:30 — Amphitheatre Pa2, Mathematics Building
, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Quantitative genetic models for describing simultaneous and recursive relationships between phenotypes

Multivariate models are of great importance in theoretical and applied quantitative genetics. We extend quantitative genetic theory to accommodate situations in which there is linear feedback or recursiveness between the phenotypes involved in a multivariate system, assuming an infinitesimal, additive, model of inheritance. It is shown that structural parameters defining a simultaneous or recursive system have a bearing on the interpretation of quantitative genetic parameter estimates (e.g., heritability, offspring-parent regression, genetic correlation) when such features are ignored. Matrix representations are given for treating a plethora of feedback-recursive situations. The likelihood function is derived, assuming multivariate normality, and results from econometric theory for parameter identification are adapted to a quantitative genetic setting. A Bayesian treatment with a Markov chain Monte Carlo implementation is suggested for inference and developed. When the system is fully recursive, all conditional posterior distributions are in closed form, so Gibbs sampling is straightforward. If there is feedback, a Metropolis step is embedded for sampling the structural parameters, since their conditional distributions are unknown. Extensions of the model to discrete random variables and to non-linear relationships between phenotypes are discussed.