In this way, h2 can be calculated by conducting a response-to-selection experiment. First, the selection differential is obtained by subtracting the population mean from the mean of selected parents. The selected parents are then interbred, and the mean phenotype of their offspring is measured. The difference between the mean of the offspring and that of the initial population is the response to selection, which can be used with the selection differential to estimate the heritability. Heritability determined by a response-to-selection experiment is usually termed the realized heritability. If certain assumptions are met, the realized heritability is identical with the narrow-sense heritability.
One of the longest selection experiments is a study of oil and protein content in corn seeds (IFigure 22.21). This experiment began at the University of Illinois on 163 ears of corn with an oil content ranging from 4% to 6%. Corn plants having high oil content and those having low oil content were selected and interbreed. Response to selection for increased oil content (the upper line in Figure 22.21) reached about 20%, whereas response to selection for decreased oil content reached a lower limit near zero. Genetic analysis of the high-
22.21 In a long-term response-to-selection experiment, selection for oil content in corn increased oil content in one line to about 20%, while almost eliminating it altogether in another line.
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