fullfact: an R package for the analysis of genetic and maternal variance components from full factorial mating designs
Full factorial breeding designs are useful for quantifying the amount of additive genetic, nonadditive genetic, and maternal variance that explain phenotypic traits. Such variance estimates are important for examining evolutionary potential. Traditionally, full factorial mating designs have been analyzed using a two-way analysis of variance, which may produce negative variance values and is not suited for unbalanced designs. Mixed-effects models do not produce negative variance values and are suited for unbalanced designs. However, extracting the variance components, calculating significance values, and estimating confidence intervals and/or power values for the components are not straightforward using traditional analytic methods. We introduce fullfact – an R package that addresses these issues and facilitates the analysis of full factorial mating designs with mixed-effects models. Here, we summarize the functions of the fullfact package. The observed data functions extract the variance explained by random and fixed effects and provide their significance. We then calculate the additive genetic, nonadditive genetic, and maternal variance components explaining the phenotype. In particular, we integrate nonnormal error structures for estimating these components for nonnormal data types. The resampled data functions are used to produce bootstrap-t confidence intervals, which can then be plotted using a simple function. We explore the fullfact package through a worked example. This package will facilitate the analyses of full factorial mating designs in R, especially for the analysis of binary, proportion, and/or count data types and for the ability to incorporate additional random and fixed effects and power analyses.