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Genetics. Mar 2002; 160(3): 1191–1202.
PMCID: PMC1462034

Selection, load and inbreeding depression in a large metapopulation.

Abstract

The subdivision of a species into local populations causes its response to selection to change, even if selection is uniform across space. Population structure increases the frequency of homozygotes and therefore makes selection on homozygous effects more effective. However, population subdivision can increase the probability of competition among relatives, which may reduce the efficacy of selection. As a result, the response to selection can be either increased or decreased in a subdivided population relative to an undivided one, depending on the dominance coefficient F(ST) and whether selection is hard or soft. Realistic levels of population structure tend to reduce the mean frequency of deleterious alleles. The mutation load tends to be decreased in a subdivided population for recessive alleles, as does the expected inbreeding depression. The magnitude of the effects of population subdivision tends to be greatest in species with hard selection rather than soft selection. Population structure can play an important role in determining the mean fitness of populations at equilibrium between mutation and selection.

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Selected References

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