Document Type


Publication Date



© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Thinking about the evolutionary causes and consequences of trait correlations has been dominated by quantitative genetics theory that is focused on hypothetical loci. Since this theory was initially developed, technology has enabled the identification of specific genetic variants that contribute to trait correlations. Here, we review studies of the genetic basis of trait correlations to ask: What has this new information taught us? We find that causal variants can be pleiotropic and/or linked in different ways, indicating that pleiotropy and linkage are not alternative genetic mechanisms. Further, many trait correlations have a polygenic basis, suggesting that both pleiotropy and linkage likely contribute. We discuss implications of these findings for the evolutionary causes and consequences of trait correlations.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Trends in Ecology and Evolution

First Page


Last Page