Mutational load, inbreeding depression and heterosis in subdivided populations

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Abstract / Description of output

This paper examines the extent to which empirical estimates of inbreeding depres‐sion and interpopulation heterosis in subdivided populations, as well as the effects of local population size on mean fitness, can be explained in terms of current estimates of mutation rates, and the distribution of selection coefficients against deleterious mutations provided by population genomics data. Using population genetics models, numerical predictions of the genetic load, inbreeding depression and heterosis were obtained for a broad range of selection coefficients and mutation rates. The models allowed for the possibility of very high mutation rates per nucleotide site, as is some‐times observed for epiallelic mutations in plants. There was fairly good quantitative agreement between the theoretical predictions and empirical estimates of heterosis and the effects of population size on genetic load, on the assumption that the delete‐rious mutation rate per individual per generation is approximately one, but there was less good agreement for inbreeding depression. Weak selection, of the order of mag‐nitude suggested by population genomic data, is required to explain the observed patterns. Possible caveats concerning the applicability of the models are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4991-5003
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • epiallelic mutations
  • genetic load
  • heterosis
  • inbreeding depression
  • mutation rate
  • subdivided population


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