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Heterozygosity and Developmental Stability Under Sexual and Asexual Breeding Systems

Robert C. Vrijenhoek and Steven Lerman
Evolution
Vol. 36, No. 4 (Jul., 1982), pp. 768-776
DOI: 10.2307/2407890
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2407890
Page Count: 9
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Heterozygosity and Developmental Stability Under Sexual and Asexual Breeding Systems
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Abstract

The relationship between heterozygosity and developmental stability was examined in sexually and clonally reproducing fish. The sexual population was subdivided as a result of population crashes, barriers to migration, and recolonizations. A gradient in heterozygosity levels correlated positively with a measure of developmental stability, fluctuating asymmetry. A founder population with very low H̄ exhibited significantly more asymmetry than the source populations. A hybrid, clonally reproducing biotype did not mirror this gradient in asymmetry even though it coexisted with the sexual form and encountered the same environmental perturbations of development. The high level of heterozygosity (H̄ = 52.0%) in the asexual-hybrid form did not confer a greater degree of developmental stability than that found in the source populations of the sexual form. The erosion of heterozygosity due to random processes is detrimental to a sexual population since buffering against the random accidents of development apparently is dependent upon genomic levels of heterozygosity Clonal forms are protected against this erosion by the nature of their reproductive process.

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