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Evolution. 2003 Aug;57(8):1793-803.

Inbreeding depression and haplodiploidy: experimental measures in a parasitoid and comparisons across diploid and haplodiploid insect taxa.

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  • 1Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0116, USA.


It has long been assumed that inbreeding depression in haplodiploid organisms is low due to their ability to purge genetic load in haploid males. It has been suggested that this low genetic load could facilitate the evolution of inbreeding behaviors driven by local mate competition in hymenopteran parasitoids. I have examined inbreeding depression in haplodiploids in two ways. First I show that an outbreeding haplodiploid wasp Uscana semifumipennis (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) suffers substantial inbreeding depression. Longevity was 38% shorter, fecundity was 32% lower, and sex ratio was 5% more male for experimentally inbred wasps when compared to outbred controls. There were interactions between size and both fecundity and sex ratio for inbred wasps that were not seen for outbred individuals. Second, an analysis of data from the literature suggests that when inbreeding is experimentally imposed on populations, haplodiploid insects and mites as a group do suffer less from inbreeding depression than diploid insects, although substantial inbreeding depression in haplodiploid taxa does exist. The meta-analysis revealed no difference in inbreeding depression between gregarious haplodiploid wasps, which are likely to have a history of inbreeding, and solitary haplodiploid species, which are assumed to be primarily outbred.

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