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Evolution. 2002 Mar;56(3):518-26.

Strong inbreeding depression in a Daphnia metapopulation.

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Universit├Ąt Basel, Zoologisches Institut, Switzerland.


The deleterious effects of inbreeding have long been known, and inbreeding can increase the risk of extinction for local populations in metapopulations. However, other consequences of inbreeding in metapopulations are still not well understood. Here we show the presence of strong inbreeding depression in a rockpool metapopulation of the planktonic freshwater crustacean Daphnia magna, which reproduces by cyclical parthenogenesis. We conducted three experiments in real and artificial rockpools to quantify components of inbreeding depression in the presence and the absence of competition between clonal lines of selfed and outcrossed genotypes. In replicated asexual populations, we recorded strong selection against clones produced by selfing in competition with clones produced by outcrossing. In contrast, inbreeding depression was much weaker in single-clone populations, that is, in the absence of competition between inbred and outbred clones. The finding of a competitive advantage of the outbred genotypes in this metapopulation suggests that if rockpool populations are inbred, hybrid offspring resulting from crosses between immigrants and local genotypes might have a strong selective advantage. This would increase the effective gene flow in the metapopulation. However, the finding of low inbreeding depression in the monoclonal populations suggests that inbred and outbred genotypes might have about equal chances of establishing new populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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