The molecular basis of quantitative genetic variation

The focus of my research explores to what extent variation in quantitative life-history traits, e.g. litter size, individual birth size, metabolic rate, testosterone level and immuno-response, is evident at the genetic level. By using a variety of genetic tools, this research will characterize the molecular aspect of adaptive genetic variation in the bank vole. In population genetic studies, the neutral genetic markers (microsatellites) are used to discover the putative molecular changes associated with the population density fluctuations. In functional genetic studies, the microarray profiling for differentially expressed ovarian genes and candidate gene approach is utilized to define the variation in reproductive success, litter size in particular. Overall, this survey on the bank vole genome will provide valuable insights into genetic architecture of the evolution of life-histories.


  • Kaisa Rikalainen, Esa Koskela & Tapio Mappes


  • Rikalainen K, Grapputo A, Knott E, Koskela E & Mappes T. 2008. A large panel of novel microsatellite markers for the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 1164-1168.