New tools for studying integration and modularity.


Journal Article

The study of phenotypic integration concerns the modular nature of organismal phenotypes. The concept provides a rationale for why certain subsets of phenotypic traits show particularly high levels of association over development and/or evolution. The techniques detailed in this report facilitate the generation and testing of hypotheses of phenotypic integration and trait interaction. The approach advocated for exploring patterns of interaction among traits is based on the statistical notion of conditional independence, incorporated in a technique known as graphical modeling. The use of graphical models is illustrated with an application to a well-known biological dataset of fowl skeletal measurements, previously analyzed by Sewall Wright. A definition of phenotypic modularity is given, based on a notion of mutual information, which provides a consistent criterion for recognizing and delimiting integrated subsets of traits and which can be related to standard models of multivariate selection.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Magwene, PM

Published Date

  • September 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 55 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 1734 - 1745

PubMed ID

  • 11681729

Pubmed Central ID

  • 11681729

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0014-3820

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2001.tb00823.x


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States