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Genetics. 1985 Nov;111(3):635-53.

Deleterious mutations as an evolutionary factor. II. Facultative apomixis and selfing.


A population with u deleterious mutations per genome per generation is considered in which only those individuals that carry less than a critical number k of mutations are viable. Besides a large number of loci subject to mutation and selection, the genome contains one or two special loci responsible for the mode of reproduction. Amphimixis vs. apomixis and amphimixis vs. selfing are considered separately. In the first case, the genome degradation rate v (= u/square root k) is found to play the decisive role, as in the case of recombination. When v greater than 1.25, obligate amphimixis is established. If v decreases below this value, the alleles with first low and then larger penetrance are fixed, until alleles conferring obligate asexual reproduction become advantageous. The proportion of resources allocated to produce seeds also increases with decrease of v. These results are unlikely to depend on the genetic basis of the mode of reproduction. The result of competition between outcrossing and selfing depends on both u and k, as well as on whether the mutations are recessive. The alleles for selfing with low penetrance are selected against if the mutations are at all recessive. The fitness of alleles with high penetrance depends primarily on u, decreasing when u increases. There may exist conditions when only the alleles providing intermediate selfing rates can be fixed in a population. In other cases a population may exist with either obligate outcrossing or selfing at a high rate. Thus, truncation selection against deleterious mutations may be a factor supporting obligate or facultative sex despite the twofold advantage of apomixis or selfing.

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