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Evolution. 2003 Mar;57(3):638-45.

Inbreeding in the greater white-toothed shrew, Crocidura russula.

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  • 1Institute of Ecology, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


We combined mark-and-recapture studies with genetic techniques of parentage assignment to evaluate the interactions between mating, dispersal, and inbreeding, in a free-ranging population of Crocidura russula. We found a pattern of limited and female-biased dispersal, followed by random mating within individual neighborhoods. This results in significant inbreeding at the population level: mating among relatives occurs more often than random, and F(IT) analyses reveal significant deficits in heterozygotes. However, related mating partners were not less fecund, and inbred offspring had no lower lifetime reproductive output. Power analyses show these negative results to be quite robust. Absence of phenotypic evidence of inbreeding depression might result from a history of purging: local populations are small and undergo disequilibrium gene dynamics. Dispersal is likely caused by local saturation and (re)colonization of empty breeding sites, rather than inbreeding avoidance.

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