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Genetic Similarity between Parents Predicts Hatching Failure: Nonincestuous Inbreeding in the Great Reed Warbler?

Staffan Bensch, Dennis Hasselquist and Torbjorn von Schantz
Evolution
Vol. 48, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 317-326
DOI: 10.2307/2410095
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410095
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Genetic Similarity between Parents Predicts Hatching Failure: Nonincestuous Inbreeding in the Great Reed Warbler?
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Abstract

The DNA-fingerprinting technique was used to find the true pedigrees and to detect the overall genetic similarity between mates of great reed warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) at an isolated breeding site in Sweden. The study covered 4 yr preceded by 3 yr when almost all adults and nestlings in the study area had been banded. DNA fingerprinting revealed that the putative father had sired 97% of the young (N = 455). The mate's genetic similarity, revealed as the proportion of bands shared in restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns, was high compared with other species of wild birds. Also, band sharing was higher between mates native to the area than between pairs in which the female was experimentally introduced from a distant breeding site. Hatching success of eggs was negatively correlated with the degree of genetic similarity between the mates, whereas pedigree data, up to the level of great-grandparents, clearly demonstrated an absence of close inbreeding. These are the first data showing a significant fitness cost associated with the choice of a mate that has high genetic similarity, even if it is not a close kin. This cost might be caused by generalized negative consequences of genomewide inbreeding in the present study, possibly accentuated by recent population bottlenecks.

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