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Copyright 2001 by the Genetics Society of America Recessive Mutations and the Maintenance of Sex in Structured Populations
 

Summary: Copyright 2001 by the Genetics Society of America
Recessive Mutations and the Maintenance of Sex in Structured Populations
Aneil F. Agrawal* and J. R. Chasnov
*Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405 and
Department of Mathematics,
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Manuscript received January 19, 2001
Accepted for publication March 26, 2001
ABSTRACT
The evolutionary maintenance of sexual reproduction remains a controversial problem. It was recently
shown that recessive deleterious mutations create differences in the mutation load of sexual vs. asexual
populations. Here we show that low levels of population structure or inbreeding can greatly enhance the
importance of recessive deleterious mutations in the context of sexual vs. asexual populations. With
population structure, the cost of sex can be substantially reduced or even eliminated for realistic levels
of dominance.
ALL else being equal, asexual populations have a two- gous state where they can be more efficiently eliminated
fold fitness advantage over their sexual counter- by selection. Population structure or inbreeding in-
parts (Maynard Smith 1971, 1978; Williams 1975; creases the proportion of homozygotes and thus allows
Bell 1982). Among a variety of possible explanations selection to be even more efficient in sexual populations
for the continued prevalence of sexual reproduction (Crow 1970). We show that biologically reasonable lev-

  

Source: Agrawal, Aneil F. - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto
Chasnov, Jeffrey R. - Department of Mathematics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences; Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Mathematics