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Proc Biol Sci. 1998 Feb 22;265(1393):293-301.

Genetic diversity in Leavenworthia populations with different inbreeding levels.

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Levels of neutral genetic diversity within and between populations were compared between outcrossing (self-incompatible) and inbreeding populations in the annual plant genus Leavenworthia. Two taxonomically independent comparisons are possible, since self-incompatibility has been lost twice in the group of species studied. Within inbred populations of L.uniflora and L.crassa, no DNA sequence variants were seen among the alleles sampled, but high diversity was seen in alleles from populations of the outcrosser L. stylosa, and in self-incompatible L. crassa populations. Diversity between populations was seen in all species. Although total diversity values were lower in the sets of inbreeding populations, between-population values were as high or higher, than those in the outcrossing taxa. Possible reasons for these diversity patterns are discussed. As the effect of inbreeding appears to be a greater than twofold reduction in diversity, we argue that some process such as selection for advantageous mutations, or against deleterious mutations, or bottlenecks occurring predominantly in the inbreeders, appears necessary to account for the findings. If selection for advantageous mutations is responsible, it appears that it must be some form of local adaptive selection, rather than substitution of alleles that are advantageous throughout the species. This is consistent with the finding of high between-population diversity in the inbreeding taxa.

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