Heritabilities for reproductive fitness are hypothesised to be non-linear as a consequence of prior directional natural selection. Three predictions of this hypothesis have been validated, namely that culling on fitness will be effective in alleviating fitness declines in lines selected for another trait, that selection on fitness during inbreeding will reduce inbreeding depression and that responses to selection for fitness traits will be consistently asymmetrical, with greater response in the direction of lowered fitness. These results have important implications for the improvement of reproductive fitness traits in plant and animal breeding.

R. Frankham

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XIII. Plenary lectures, molecular genetics and mapping, selection, prediction and estimation., , 238–239, 1990
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