Download e-book for iPad: Introduction to Conservation Genetics by Richard Frankham

By Richard Frankham

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There is now clear evidence that inbreeding adversely affects most wild populations. Crnokrak & Roff (1999) reviewed 157 valid data sets, including 34 species, for inbreeding depression in natural situations. e. they showed inbreeding depression), two were equal and only 14 were in the opposite direction. Results were very similar across birds, mammals, poikilotherms and plants. Significant inbreeding depression has been reported in at least another 15 taxa (Chapter 12). Species exhibiting inbreeding depression in the wild include the following: mammals (golden lion tamarins, lions, native mice, shrews GENETICS AND THE FATE OF ENDANGERED SPECIES and Soay sheep), birds (greater prairie chicken, Mexican jay, song sparrow, American kestrel and reed warbler), fish (Atlantic salmon, desert topminnow and rainbow trout), a reptile, a snail, an insect (butterfly) and many species of plants (see Bensch et al.

If the population is mating at random, then Fϭ0. If mates are more closely related than expected under random matings, then the population is said to be inbreeding and FϾ0. If individuals in the populations are actively choosing less related mates, then the population is said to be avoiding inbreeding and FϽ0. This F value refers to the average F of the population, while the inbreeding coefficient is calculated for a particular individual. Levels of inbreeding can be determined from pedigrees, or inferred from heterozygosities for genetic markers (Chapters 4 and 11).

Stochastic models are then run through repeated cycles to project the fate of populations into the future. Mills & Smouse (1994) used computer simulations to show that inbreeding generally increases the risk of extinction, especially in species with low reproductive rates. These simulations encompassed only a 20-year time frame, representing less than five generations for the types of life cycles they simulated. Since the effects of inbreeding continue to accumulate over generations in closed populations, their simulations underestimate the impacts of inbreeding over periods of conservation concern (typically 100–200 years).

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