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2017 update: Heritability of fitness–qGen1

The team measuring plants in big batch

Team Echinacea measuring plants in big batch

In 2017 we assessed survival and fitness measures of the qGen1 plants. 1,991 plants in qGen1 were alive in 2017. Of those, 3% flowered in 2017 and 46% have yet to flower ever. All were planted in 2003.

The qGen1 (quantitative genetics) experiment is designed to quantify the heritability of traits in Echinacea angustifolia. We are especially interested in Darwinian fitness. Could fitness be heritable? During the summer of 2002 we crossed plants from the 1996 & 1997 cohorts of exPt1. We harvested heads, dissected achenes, and germinated seeds over the winter. In the Spring of 2003 we planted the resulting 4468 seedlings (this great number gave rise to this experiment’s nickname “big batch”).

Start year: 2003

Location: Experimental plot 1

Overlaps with: qGen2 & qGen3

Physical specimens: We harvested 46 heads from qGen1 in 2017. These heads will be processed in the lab to determine achene counts and seed set.

Data collected: We collected fitness measures using handheld computers.

Products: We have an awesome dataset that we will share once the paper is published. Ruth Shaw is working on an analysis of the qGen1 dataset.

You can find more information about Heritability of fitness–qGen1 and links to previous flog posts regarding this experiment at the background page for the experiment.

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