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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Nov 15;102(46):16723-8. Epub 2005 Nov 7.

Genetic diversity and reproductive success in mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx).

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Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Unite Mixte de Recherche 5175, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Montpellier, France.


Recent studies of wild animal populations have shown that estimators of neutral genetic diversity, such as mean heterozygosity, are often correlated with various fitness traits, such as survival, disease susceptibility, or reproductive success. We used two estimators of genetic diversity to explore the relationship between heterozygosity and reproductive success in male and female mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) living in a semifree ranging setting in Gabon. Because social rank is known to influence reproductive success in both sexes, we also examined the correlation between genetic diversity and social rank in females, and acquisition of alpha status in males, as well as length of alpha male tenure. We found that heterozygous individuals showed greater reproductive success, with both females and males producing more offspring. However, heterozygosity influenced reproductive success only in dominant males, not in subordinates. Neither the acquisition of alpha status in males, nor social rank in females, was significantly correlated with heterozygosity, although more heterozygous alpha males showed longer tenure than homozygous ones. We also tested whether the benefits of greater genetic diversity were due mainly to a genome-wide effect of inbreeding depression or to heterosis at one or a few loci. Multilocus effects best explained the correlation between heterozygosity and reproductive success and tenure, indicating the occurrence of inbreeding depression in this mandrill colony.

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