Evolutionary quantitative genetics is the study of how complex traits evolve over time. While this field builds on traditional concepts from quantitative genetics widely used by applied breeders and human geneticists (in particular, the inheritance of complex traits), its unique feature is in examining the role of natural selection in changing the population distribution of a complex trait over time. Our review focuses on this role of selection, starting with response under the standard infinitesimal model, in which trait variation is determined by a very large number of loci, each of small effect. We then turn to issues of measuring fitness (and hence natural selection) on both univariate and multivariate traits. We conclude by examining models that treat fitness itself as a complex trait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Statistical Genetics
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages54
ISBN (Print)9780470058305
StatePublished - May 9 2008


  • Artificial selection program
  • Directional selection differential
  • Fisher's genetic decomposition
  • Gametic-phase disequilibrium
  • Infinitesimal model and genotypic values
  • Mean population fitness
  • Multivariate normal
  • Phenotypic and genetic regressions
  • Quadratic selection gradient
  • Robertson-Price identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics


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