Inbreeding and promiscuity in the endangered grank skink

Oliver Berry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The inbreeding avoidance hypothesis predicts that organisms that often encounter relatives as potential mates should evolve behaviours to avoid incestuous matings. Avoidance behaviours have practical importance for small populations because deleterious genetic processes may be less imminent than otherwise expected from genetic models that assume random mating. I used genetic techniques to investigate the extent of inbreeding and inbreeding avoidance behaviours in rare lizards from southern New Zealand. Grand skinks, Oligosoma grande, live in small patchily distributed groups, and have low rates of inter-group dispersal (ca. 3-20% disperse). I used data from 15 microsatellite loci to test the hypothesis that adults are likely to encounter kin as potential mates and will inbreed. These data showed that adult skinks usually inhabited rock outcrops with adult relatives of the opposite sex - up to 35% of potential mates were of equivalent relatedness as half-sibs and 17% were equivalent to full sibs. However, skinks did not preferentially breed with less related mates, and 18.2% of matings were between individuals of equivalent relatedness as full-sibs. Instead, skinks mated with partners of all levels of relatedness, and were promiscuous - almost half of adult females and nearly three quarters of adult males reproduced with multiple partners. In addition, inbreeding had no effect on survival of offspring in their first year. Two other putative mechanisms of inbreeding avoidance, sex-biased and natal dispersal, were not pronounced in this species. This study adds to a growing list of species that inbreed despite the risks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)427-437
    JournalConservation Genetics
    Volume7
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

    Fingerprint

    Inbreeding
    Scincidae
    inbreeding
    inbreeding avoidance
    relatedness
    Avoidance Learning
    avoidance behavior
    Genetic Phenomena
    natal dispersal
    Genetic Techniques
    random mating
    Lizards
    gender
    Sexual Partners
    Genetic Models
    New Zealand
    lizard
    Microsatellite Repeats
    lizards
    outcrop

    Cite this

    Berry, Oliver. / Inbreeding and promiscuity in the endangered grank skink. In: Conservation Genetics. 2006 ; Vol. 7, No. 3. pp. 427-437.
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    abstract = "The inbreeding avoidance hypothesis predicts that organisms that often encounter relatives as potential mates should evolve behaviours to avoid incestuous matings. Avoidance behaviours have practical importance for small populations because deleterious genetic processes may be less imminent than otherwise expected from genetic models that assume random mating. I used genetic techniques to investigate the extent of inbreeding and inbreeding avoidance behaviours in rare lizards from southern New Zealand. Grand skinks, Oligosoma grande, live in small patchily distributed groups, and have low rates of inter-group dispersal (ca. 3-20{\%} disperse). I used data from 15 microsatellite loci to test the hypothesis that adults are likely to encounter kin as potential mates and will inbreed. These data showed that adult skinks usually inhabited rock outcrops with adult relatives of the opposite sex - up to 35{\%} of potential mates were of equivalent relatedness as half-sibs and 17{\%} were equivalent to full sibs. However, skinks did not preferentially breed with less related mates, and 18.2{\%} of matings were between individuals of equivalent relatedness as full-sibs. Instead, skinks mated with partners of all levels of relatedness, and were promiscuous - almost half of adult females and nearly three quarters of adult males reproduced with multiple partners. In addition, inbreeding had no effect on survival of offspring in their first year. Two other putative mechanisms of inbreeding avoidance, sex-biased and natal dispersal, were not pronounced in this species. This study adds to a growing list of species that inbreed despite the risks.",
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    Inbreeding and promiscuity in the endangered grank skink. / Berry, Oliver.

    In: Conservation Genetics, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2006, p. 427-437.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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