Jun 30, 2016

Genetic Allee effects and their interaction with ecological Allee effects

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Meike WittmannDirk Metzler


1. It is now widely accepted that genetic processes such as inbreeding depression and loss of genetic variation can increase the extinction risk of small populations. However, it is generally unclear whether extinction risk from genetic causes gradually increases with decreasing population size or whether there is a sharp transition around a specific threshold population size. In the ecological literature, such threshold phenomena are called "strong Allee effects" and they can arise for example from mate limitation in small populations. 2. In this study, we aim to a) develop a meaningful notion of a "strong genetic Allee effect", b) explore whether and under what conditions such an effect can arise from inbreeding depression due to recessive deleterious mutations, and c) quantify the interaction of potential genetic Allee effects with the well-known mate-finding Allee effect. 3. We define a strong genetic Allee effect as a genetic process that causes a population's survival probability to be a sigmoid function of its initial size. The inflection point of this function defines the critical population size. To characterize survival-probability curves, we develop and analyze simple stochastic models for the ecology and genetics of...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Sigmoid Colon
Genetic Activator
HADHAP2 gene
Population Group

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