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Heredity (Edinb). 2002 Oct;89(4):253-7.

Genome-wide deleterious mutation favors dispersal and species integrity.

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School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman 99164, USA.


Here I develop the idea that ubiquitous harmful genome-wide mutation with local differentiation favors dispersal, even though migration reduces average fitness. Historical contingency of the mutational process means that demes (sub-populations) differentiate from one another. Deleterious or lethal partially recessive mutations carried by migrants then do not encounter similar mutations in the recipient deme. Migrant offspring have higher fitness than offspring of residents, because migrant offspring are heterozygous rather than homozygous for harmful mutations. The advantage is inversely related to local inbreeding depression. Genome-wide deleterious mutation favors the evolution of dispersal, which in turn enhances the genetic integrity of the species.

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