Ontogenetic changes in genetic regulation of fetal morphometrics in Baboons (Papio hamadryas subspp.)

C. E. Jaquish, M. M. Leland, T. Dyer, B. Towne, J. Blangero

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Scopus citations


    It is known that different genes are expressed during ontogeny; however, it is unclear how variation in that expression is associated with changes in growth patterns. The objective of this study is to assess how genetic variation in fetal morphology changes with ontogeny in baboons. Longitudinal measures of the head and femur (60 to 180 days gestation) were available for 892 pregnancies. We used a genetic model that allowed both the genetic and environmental variances (σ(G)/2 and σ(E)/2) to change with age and estimated genetic and environmental correlations (ρ(G)) and ρ(E)) between measurements at different ages. The results indicate a significant increase in the genetic variance for biparietal diameter and femur length but not for head circumference and fronto-occipital diameter. The ρ(G) estimates for all measures decreased as the age between measures increased from 0 to 120 days, indicating that different groups of genes are expressed early in gestation and late in gestation. The ρ(E) estimates dropped rapidly from 1 to 0 for all measures, indicating temporally localized environmental influences on fetal growth. Thus fetal morphometrics are significantly heritable and those genes that influence them show age-specific expression during ontogeny.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)831-848
    Number of pages18
    JournalHuman Biology
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 1997


    • Babbon
    • Fetal growth
    • Gene by age interaction
    • Ontegeny
    • Quantitative genetics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Genetics
    • Genetics(clinical)


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