Inbreeding and Extinction: A Threshold Effect

Inbreeding and Extinction: A Threshold Effect A fundamental assumption underlying the application of genetics within conservation biology is that inbreeding increases the risk of extinction. However, there is no information on the shape of the relationship, the available evidence has not distinguished genetic and nongenetic effects, and the issue is controversial. Methods were devised to separate genetic and nongenetic causes of extinction in inbred populations, and they were used to analyze data from Drosophila melanogaster, D. virilis and Mus musculus. Inbreeding markedly increased rates of extinction in all cases. All showed a threshold relationship between incremental extinction and inbreeding with low initial extinction, but they showed notably increased extinction beginning at intermediate levels of inbreeding. There was no difference in extinction levels at similar inbreeding coefficients in populations inbred at different rates (full sibling versus double first cousin). Endangered species may give little warning of impending extinction crises due to inbreeding. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

Inbreeding and Extinction: A Threshold Effect

Conservation Biology, Volume 9 (4) – Aug 1, 1995

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1995 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
DOI
10.1046/j.1523-1739.1995.09040792.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A fundamental assumption underlying the application of genetics within conservation biology is that inbreeding increases the risk of extinction. However, there is no information on the shape of the relationship, the available evidence has not distinguished genetic and nongenetic effects, and the issue is controversial. Methods were devised to separate genetic and nongenetic causes of extinction in inbred populations, and they were used to analyze data from Drosophila melanogaster, D. virilis and Mus musculus. Inbreeding markedly increased rates of extinction in all cases. All showed a threshold relationship between incremental extinction and inbreeding with low initial extinction, but they showed notably increased extinction beginning at intermediate levels of inbreeding. There was no difference in extinction levels at similar inbreeding coefficients in populations inbred at different rates (full sibling versus double first cousin). Endangered species may give little warning of impending extinction crises due to inbreeding.

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Aug 1, 1995

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