Dec 10, 1999

Dynamics of inbreeding depression due to deleterious mutations in small populations: mutation parameters and inbreeding rate

Genetical Research
J WangB Charlesworth


A multilocus stochastic model is developed to simulate the dynamics of mutational load in small populations of various sizes. Old mutations sampled from a large ancestral population at mutation-selection balance and new mutations arising each generation are considered jointly, using biologically plausible lethal and deleterious mutation parameters. The results show that inbreeding depression and the number of lethal equivalents due to partially recessive mutations can be partly purged from the population by inbreeding, and that this purging mainly involves lethals or detrimentals of large effect. However, fitness decreases continuously with inbreeding, due to increased fixation and homozygosity of mildly deleterious mutants, resulting in extinctions of very small populations with low reproductive rates. No optimum inbreeding rate or population size exists for purging with respect to fitness (viability) changes, but there is an optimum inbreeding rate at a given final level of inbreeding for reducing inbreeding depression or the number of lethal equivalents. The interaction between selection against partially recessive mutations and genetic drift in small populations also influences the rate of decay of neutral variation. Weak s...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Genetic Drift
Stochastic Processes
Genetics, Population
Sample Fixation
Deleterious Mutation
Sib Mating
Drosophila melanogaster

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