Quantitative genetics of life history variation

The focus of my research is to estimate quantitative genetic variation in some key life history traits. My study species is the bank vole and my research is based on a large pedigreed laboratory colony. For the analyses, I am using the REML-animal model with possible case-specific requisite extensions (e.g. random regression and factor analytic models). Studied traits include reproductive characters (litter size, birth size, male fertilization ability), growth pattern, immune measures (plasma total IgG level, immune response) and plasma testosterone level. Besides the level of additive genetic determination, I am estimating the genetic covariances of certain trait combinations to evaluate the genetic basis of their predicted life-history trade-offs. My research will provide valuable information on life-history evolution since quantitative estimates of genetic variation are the best reflection of a population’s capacity to evolve.


  • Eero Schroderus, Tuula Oksanen, Esa Koskela & Tapio Mappes

Relevant publications:

  • Schroderus E., Jokinen I., Koivula M., Koskela E., Mappes T., Mills S.C., Oksanen T.A. & Poikonen T. (2010) Intra- and intersexual trade-offs between testosterone and immune system: implications for sexual and sexually antagonistic selections.American Naturalist 176: E90-97.