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Sexual selection has minimal impact on effective population sizes in species with high rates of random offspring mortality: An empirical demonstration using fitness distributions
University of Calif Santa Barbara, CA 93106 USA.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6112-9586
Canisius Coll, NY 14208 USA.
University of Calif Santa Barbara, CA 93106 USA.
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2015 (English)In: Evolution, ISSN 0014-3820, E-ISSN 1558-5646, Vol. 69, no 10, 2638-2647 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The effective population size (N-e) is a fundamental parameter in population genetics that influences the rate of loss of genetic diversity. Sexual selection has the potential to reduce N-e by causing the sex-specific distributions of individuals that successfully reproduce to diverge. To empirically estimate the effect of sexual selection on N-e, we obtained fitness distributions for males and females from an outbred, laboratory-adapted population of Drosophila melanogaster. We observed strong sexual selection in this population (the variance in male reproductive success was approximate to 14 times higher than that for females), but found that sexual selection had only a modest effect on N-e, which was 75% of the census size. This occurs because the substantial random offspring mortality in this population diminishes the effects of sexual selection on N-e, a result that necessarily applies to other high fecundity species. The inclusion of this random offspring mortality creates a scaling effect that reduces the variance/mean ratios for male and female reproductive success and causes them to converge. Our results demonstrate that measuring reproductive success without considering offspring mortality can underestimate N-e and overestimate the genetic consequences of sexual selection. Similarly, comparing genetic diversity among different genomic components may fail to detect strong sexual selection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY-BLACKWELL , 2015. Vol. 69, no 10, 2638-2647 p.
Keyword [en]
Autosomes; genetic variation; juvenile mortality; reproductive success; selection; sex chromosomes
National Category
Biological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122530DOI: 10.1111/evo.12764ISI: 000362970600009PubMedID: 26374275OAI: diva2:868009

Funding Agencies|Sigma Xi; UCSB; National Science Foundation [DEB-0128780, DEB-0111613, DBI-0409561]; National Institutes of Health [R01HD057974-01]; Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; Swedish Research Council

Available from: 2015-11-09 Created: 2015-11-06 Last updated: 2015-12-10

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