Data from: An assessment of the reliability of quantitative genetics estimates in study systems with high rate of extra-pair reproduction and low recruitment
Bourret, Audrey; Garant, Dany (2016), Data from: An assessment of the reliability of quantitative genetics estimates in study systems with high rate of extra-pair reproduction and low recruitment, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n8c57
Quantitative genetics approaches, and particularly animal models, are widely used to assess the genetic (co)variance of key fitness related traits and infer adaptive potential of wild populations. Despite the importance of precision and accuracy of genetic variance estimates and their potential sensitivity to various ecological and population specific factors, their reliability is rarely tested explicitly. Here, we used simulations and empirical data collected from an 11-year study on tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), a species showing a high rate of extra-pair paternity and a low recruitment rate, to assess the importance of identity errors, structure and size of the pedigree on quantitative genetic estimates in our dataset. Our simulations revealed an important lack of precision in heritability and genetic-correlation estimates for most traits, a low power to detect significant effects and important identifiability problems. We also observed a large bias in heritability estimates when using the social pedigree instead of the genetic one (deflated heritabilities) or when not accounting for an important cause of resemblance among individuals (for example, permanent environment or brood effect) in model parameterizations for some traits (inflated heritabilities). We discuss the causes underlying the low reliability observed here and why they are also likely to occur in other study systems. Altogether, our results re-emphasize the difficulties of generalizing quantitative genetic estimates reliably from one study system to another and the importance of reporting simulation analyses to evaluate these important issues.