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J Evol Biol. 2005 Mar;18(2):358-70.

Ecological components and evolution of selfing in the freshwater snail Galba truncatula.

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biology Building, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.


The reproductive assurance hypothesis emphasizes that self-fertilization should evolve in species with reduced dispersal capability, low population size or experiencing recurrent bottlenecks. Our work investigates the ecological components of the habitats colonized by the snail, Galba truncatula, that may influence the evolution of selfing. Galba truncatula is a preferential selfer inhabiting freshwater habitats, which vary with respect to the degree of permanence. We considered with a population genetic approach the spatial and the temporal degree of isolation of populations of G. truncatula. We showed that patches at distances of only a few meters are highly structured. The effective population sizes appear quite low, in the order of 10 individuals or less. This study indicates that individuals of the species G. truncatula are likely to be alone in a site and have a low probability of finding a partner from a nearby site to reproduce. These results emphasize the advantage of selfing in this species.

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